High-ranking Democrats from Connecticut were quick to criticize President Donald Trump for pardoning Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court for illegally targeting Latinos.
“Sheriff Arpaio engaged in behavior that targeted minorities and broke the law. When a court ordered him to stop, he continued and violated the court order,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
“This act by President Trump is not just a dog whistle, but a bull horn, to others who would seek to target minorities with violence and discrimination and persecution. It undermines the rule of law and sends a signal to white supremacists and other hate groups who spewed racial and religious epithets in Charlottesville that breaking the law will be condoned.”
“With this pardon, the President shows disregard for the courts and rule of law and further divides our country and rips open racial wounds that all public officials should be seeking to heal.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy was even more blunt in his Tweet.
"The Arpaio pardon is basically a big middle finger to America. A loud, proud declaration that this Administration supports racism," Murphy said @ChrisMurphyCT.
Arpaio, 85, was convicted last month of criminal contempt for violating a federal court order to discontinued his long practice of racially profiling Latinos, stopping them just on suspicion that they were in the country illegally. He faced a maximum of six months in prison when sentenced in October on the misdemeanor charge.
Arpaio, who was a sheriff in Maricopa County for 24 years, had insisted that his practices were legal and that he would continue.
Trump announced the pardon via Twitter earlier Friday.
"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!," Trump said @RealDonaldTrump.
Arpaio thanked the president, also via Twitter, and asked supporters for financial assistance.
"Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department! I also thank my loyal supporters, who stood shoulder to shoulder w/ me in this fight, and throughout my career. For those who are asking how they can con't to help, a donation to my Legal fund go directly to paying off legal fees from this fight," Arpaio said @RealSheriffJoe.
U.S. Rep.Jim Himes posted his view on Facebook. "When granting pardoning powers to our President, I'm sure the founders never anticipated this convicted racist."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also expressed his outrage about the pardon as well as Trump's continued efforts to ban transgender individuals from the military.
“Discriminating against transgender citizens, undermining the rule of law by pardoning a disgraced and disgraceful sheriff before our courts even act, all done under the shadow of an impending hurricane," Malloy said, referring to Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that hit Texas late Friday.
"This is madness, and it must be rejected by thoughtful, compassionate people everywhere.”
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