Through Spox, Ryan Criticizes Arpaio Pardon: ‘The Speaker Does Not Agree’

UNITED STATES - MAY 25: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., conducts his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on May 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Saturday criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of ignoring a judge’s order to stop racially profiling Latinos based on the suspicion they were undocumented immigrants.

“The speaker does not agree with the decision,” Ryan’s spokesperson, Doug Andres, told the Wall Street Journal. “Law-enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon.”

Ryan isn’t the only Republican to criticize Trump’s move: Both of Arizona’s senators did so on Friday, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) saying it “undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”

Still, much of Trump’s right-wing nationalist base endorsed the move. Kelli Ward, who is challenging the state’s junior senator, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), for his sat in the 2018 Republican Senate primary, cheered Trump’s pardon.

Up until he lost a bid for reelection in November 2016, Arpaio was known nationwide for his extremely harsh detention tactics, especially those aimed at undocumented immigrants. For years, he maintained a facility nicknamed “Tent City” that housed hundreds of inmates outdoors, in the intense Arizona heat. Documentary filmmakers once caught him on camera calling it a “concentration camp.”