Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ripped into President Donald Trump after he pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
McCain’s office released a statement late Friday evening condemning the president’s decision, saying that it “undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law.”
“Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders,” Arizona’s senior senator said in a statement.
“The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”
The former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt after he disobeyed a federal judge’s order to stop racially profiling suspected illegal immigrants.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., also condemned Trump’s decision, writing in a tweet, “Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.”
The president’s decision to pardon Arpaio was announced by the White House Friday evening.
“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the statement from the White House said.
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
President Trump followed the White House’s statement with his own comments on Twitter, writing in a tweet, “I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!”