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Joe Arpaio to run for Arizona Senate seat

  • Ex-sheriff was pardoned by Donald Trump for racial profiling conviction
  • Republican, 85, to run as ‘a big supporter of President Trump’

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Joe Arpaio, pardoned racial profiler, to run for Arizona Senate seat” was written by Ben Jacobs and Lauren Gambino in Washington, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 9th January 2018 22.31 UTC

Controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio announced on Tuesday that he would run for the United States Senate in Arizona.

Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio in 2017 after he was convicted of contempt of court for violating a federal court order to stop racial profiling against Hispanics.

Who is Joe Arpaio? A look at the controversial Arizona sheriff

While in office for 24 years, Joe Arpaio, 85, called himself America’s toughest sheriff.

He boasted that he fed his prisoners more cheaply than the sheriff’s department dogs – just two meals a day for the humans, with stale bologna sandwiches a staple.

Anti-immigration voters loved his tactics of sweeping Latino-majority neighborhoods, rounding up anyone suspected of being in the US illegally or failing to show papers on demand.

Arpaio called his department’s sprawling jail a concentration camp, where male inmates were forced to wear pink underwear and striped uniforms and live in tents under 140F (60C) desert sun.

The sheriff ran chain-gangs of male and female inmates, shackled by the ankle and marched out to collect trash from highways and desert, or to bury​ the destitute.

He lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff in 2016, ​losing​ to a Democrat who benefited from a surge of Latino voters to the polls and later shut down the outdoor jail section known as Tent City.

After a five-year “birtherism” investigation, during which Arpaio sent investigators to Hawaii, he still claimed in 2016 that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is “fake, fake”.

In July 2017, Arpaio was convicted on a federal charge of contempt of court after failing to heed numerous court orders to stop traffic patrols that targeted Latinos as part of his infamous anti-immigration crackdowns. He was facing up to six months in federal prison but before he could be sentenced, Donald Trump issued him with a presidential pardon.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, the 85-year-old said that he was running as “a big supporter of President Trump”. Arpaio had long been known for his draconian views on illegal immigration and his harsh treatment of prisoners and undocumented immigrants detained while awaiting deportation or transfer to other jurisdictions.

He was also an enthusiastic believer in so-called birtherism, the long-running campaign by some hardline conservatives, with Donald Trump as their cheerleader, to convince the public inaccurately that Barack Obama was not born in the USA and therefore was not eligible to be president.

Arpaio served six terms as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, the state’s largest jurisdiction, near Phoenix and the Mexico border, before losing his re-election bid in 2016.

Self-anointed as “America’s toughest sheriff”, he gained notoriety during his 24-year tenure for detaining hundreds of undocumented immigrants in a sprawling jail known as Tent City and forcing them to wear pink underwear. The sheriff courted controversy and media attention – calling his own jail a “concentration camp”, serving inmates just two meals a day and selling replica pink underwear to the public – as he became a national figurehead for the virulent xenophobia Trump embraced in his presidential campaign.

Trump’s decision to pardon the polarizing sheriff drew condemnation from both of the state’s Republican senators, as well as Democrats and Latino and immigrant advocacy groups. Arpaio is the only person so far to have received a presidential pardon from Trump.

The populist and polarizing former sheriff joins a crowded Republican field in the race to succeed vocal Trump critic Jeff Flake, who announced he would not seek re-election. The former sheriff has a complicated history with Flake. He is currently facing a malicious prosecution suit from Flake’s son, who alleges Arpaio prosecuted him for animal cruelty in an attempt to embarrass the Republican senator.

Currently, Kelli Ward, a former state senator who has been vocally backed by former White House aide Steve Bannon, is running for Flake’s seat and is expected to be joined by Martha McSally, a two-term congresswoman who was also the first woman to fly in combat. McSally is an establishment favorite who has won multiple tough races in her Tucson-based swing district.

The winner of the Republican primary is likely to face Democratic congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema in the November general election.

On Tuesday, Flake told reporters: “I won’t be supporting Joe Arpaio.” Of the sheriff’s bid, the Arizona senator joked: “Write about it fast because it won’t last long.”

The Senate race is expected to be one of the most competitive in 2018 and a must-win for Democrats if they are to have any chance of winning control of the Senate in the midterms.

Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, said:

“Joe Arpaio is one of our nation’s most notorious agents of racism and bigotry,” Perez said in a statement on Tuesday. “He has spent his career tearing apart immigrant families and devastating Latino communities.”

As head of the justice department’s civil rights division, Perez sued Arpaio in 2012, alleging long-standing racial profiling of Latinos.

Asked about the criticism on Fox News Radio, Arpaio said it was “an honor to know he is going after me”.

“He better worry about his own party and not target me,” Arpaio said. “Let him target me, that’s okay, he has been doing it all along anyway.”

Critics of Arpaio says his entry in the Senate race could animate Latino voters.

“If Republicans rally behind this monster, they will turn out Latino voters like never before – in Arizona and across the country,” Cristóbal Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund, a progressive political action committee, told the Guardian.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Trump Pardons Steve Bannon In One of His Final Acts As 45th President

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(CNN)— President Donald Trump has decided to pardon his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, in a last-minute decision made only hours before he is scheduled to depart the White House for a final time.

Officials cautioned CNN that Trump’s decision was not final until he signed the paperwork. Trump told people that after much deliberation, he had decided to pardon Bannon as one of his final acts in office.

Bannon’s pardon would follow a frantic scramble during the President’s final hours in office as attorneys and top aides debated his inclusion on Trump’s outgoing clemency list. Despite their falling out in recent years, Trump was eager to pardon his former aide after recently reconnecting with him as he helped fan Trump’s conspiracy theories about the election.

It was a far cry from when Trump exiled Bannon from his inner circle after he was quoted in a book trashing the President’s children, claiming that Donald Trump Jr. had been “treasonous” by meeting with a Russian attorney and labeling Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick.” Those statements from Bannon drove Trump to issue a lengthy statement saying he had “lost his mind.”

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump said at the time.Things shifted in recent months as Bannon attempted to breach Trump’s inner circle once again by offering advice before the election and pushing his false theories after Trump had lost.

Since Trump’s election defeat, the President has leaned further into his expansive pardon powers — granting pardons to his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, longtime ally Roger Stone and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, among others.

Among Trump’s pardons earlier in his term were those for former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza and financier Michael Milken.

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California Governor Formally Appoints Alex Padilla To Fill US Senate Seat Vacated By Kamala Harris

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(CNN) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom formally submitted the appointment of Alex Padilla to the US Senate today, according to a press release from the governor’s office. 

Padilla formally resigned as Secretary of State this morning and Gov. Newsom also submitted his nomination letter for Assembly member Shirley Weber to replace him. The Deputy Secretary of State, James Schwab, will be the Acting Secretary of State.

“It is fitting that on the same day we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a civil rights icon who fought for justice and representation — we also move forward the appointment of California’s first Latino U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and the nomination of Dr. Shirley Weber who will serve as the first-ever African American Secretary of State. Both will be strong defenders of our democracy during this fragile moment in our nation’s history,” said Gov. Newsom.

“I am humbled and honored by your trust in me to represent California in the United States Senate. I look forward to continuing to serve the great State of California as a United States Senator and to ensuring that the rights and democratic principles we cherish are protected and preserved for all people,” Padilla wrote in a letter to Gov. Newsom.

Some context: Earlier today, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris formally resigned her seat as one of California’s US Senators. She’ll be inaugurated as vice president on Wednesday, Jan. 20. In a farewell addressed posted to Twitter, Harris said, “Of course, I’m not saying goodbye. In many ways, I’m now saying hello as your vice president.”

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U.S. Set To Announce New Sanctions On Six Individuals Linked To Hong Kong Mass Arrests

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WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The United States is set to announce fresh sanctions on Friday on six individuals connected to the mass arrests earlier this month of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Hong Kong police on Jan. 5 arrested 53 people in dawn raids on democracy activists in the biggest crackdown since China last year imposed a security law which opponents say is aimed at quashing dissent in the former British colony.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo last week warned of fresh sanctions in response to the arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. That warning came a day after supporters of Republican President Donald Trump on Jan. 6 stormed Congress in a bid to overturn his November election defeat, prompting China’s state media to accuse U.S. politicians of “double standards.”

Pompeo also said last week the United States would also explore restrictions against the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in the United States.

Action on Friday would come just days before Trump is due to leave office and be succeeded by Democrat Joe Biden next Wednesday and would be the latest in a series targeting China, which analysts see as a bid driven by Pompeo to lock in a tough approach to Beijing.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has pursued hard-line policies toward China on issues ranging from trade to espionage and the coronavirus. Relations plummeted to their worst level in decades when he ramped up rhetoric in his unsuccessful November re-election campaign.

His administration has already imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for their actions involving the pro-democracy movement and other alleged rights abuses, and last July declared an end to the territory’s privileged economic status under U.S. law.

The Trump administration took another swipe at China and its biggest companies on Thursday, imposing sanctions on officials and companies for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea and imposing an investment ban on nine more firms.

Last Saturday, Pompeo said he was lifting restrictions on contacts between U.S. officials and counterparts in Taiwan, a move that greatly angered Beijing, which considers the island a renegade province. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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