President Donald Trump told Fox News he's "seriously considering" issuing a pardon for convicted former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who insists he isn't actively seeking a presidential pardon.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” Trump said Sunday. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.”
Last month Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a 2011 court order to stop his immigration crackdowns, which included traffic stops that specifically targeted immigrants.
After being found guilty, Arpaio said he won't rule out running for office again and remains a dedicated Trump supporter. The former sheriff endorsed Trump during his presidential campaign and the two hold similar viewpoints on immigration.
Arpaio is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and could face up to six months behind bars. The 85-year-old told Fox News he would never ask Trump to pardon him because he doesn't "want to do anything that would hurt the president.”
If Trump decides to pardon Arpaio, it will be the first pardon of his presidency.
The ACLU argued that a pardon from Trump would serve as "an official presidential endorsement of racism."
Trump would be literally pardoning Arpaio’s flagrant violation of federal court orders that prohibited the illegal detention of Latinos.— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 14, 2017
Make no mistake: If Trump pardons Arpaio, this would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 14, 2017
The Associated Press contributed to this report.