In pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, President Trump illustrated why he is a cut above other politicians. Without waiting for judicial activism to drag on for years in the Ninth Circuit, Trump used his constitutional authority to stop the long-running witch-hunt against a good man who has devoted 50 years to law enforcement.
Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe was the kind of Trumpesque move that millions of Americans have been waiting for. Trump acted on his own instincts, and perhaps even against his legal advisers who have been urging him to adapt to business-as-usual in D.C., rather than changing it.
Trump’s audacious pardon confirmed why Phyllis Schlafly saw in Donald Trump something she had not seen in any other presidential candidate since she wrote her classic “A Choice Not An Echo” more than 50 years ago. Sheriff Joe is hated by the kingmakers who want open borders, and Trump’s pardon delivered a stunning setback to their globalist agenda.
In 2012, Phyllis wrote about how the pro-amnesty crowd waged an expensive campaign that year to defeat Sheriff Joe, but he won his reelection at the age of 81. Sheriff Joe stood up against Obama, and liberals have been determined for years to punish Joe.
A decade ago Phyllis and others repeatedly urged President George W. Bush to pardon two courageous border patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who had been unjustly sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison for doing their job in shooting a drug smuggler near the Mexican border. The smuggler was merely wounded in his buttocks, while our border patrol agents were sent to prison for more than a decade.
Yet GWB would not pardon the agents, even after one of them suffered a beating in prison at the hands of convicts hostile to law enforcement agents. Instead, GWB waited until his last full day in office, and then merely commuted their sentences, leaving the agents to linger for additional weeks in prison and be hampered in finding good jobs after they were finally released.
Trump’s decisive pardon of Sheriff Joe is in welcome contrast to the effete leadership of the past. Sheriff Joe was elected six times by the fourth largest county in America, Maricopa County in Arizona, a hotbed of illegal immigration and widespread crime caused by the illegals whom Joe worked overtime to arrest.
Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe was a necessary step to curb the misuse of the federal courts, which are now stacked with Obama and Clinton appointments who repeatedly rule in favor of liberal groups and against the will of the American people. In what took GWB years to do only incompletely on his last full day in office, it took only a few days for Trump to do completely at the first opportunity.
The ACLU did not like Sheriff Joe’s approach to illegal immigration, and they used the federal courts to take punitive action against him. Without the benefit of a jury trial, a federal judge held that the publicly elected Sheriff Joe was in criminal contempt in how he did his job in protecting the American people against illegal aliens.
The court ruling was contrary to the testimony of every witness in Sheriff Joe’s civil case, which had been brought by the ACLU. Sheriff Joe, now age 85, faced six months in jail and further litigation that would bankrupt him.
Presidents should not wait for the legal system to destroy anyone before issuing a pardon to cut off the abuse. The justice in President Trump’s pardon is not merely that he exonerated Sheriff Joe, but that President Trump did it quickly to prevent further injustice against this hero.
Although the presidential power to pardon is clear, criticism of Trump has ranged from the inane to the absurd. Some even objected that President Trump issued his pardon of Sheriff Joe during Hurricane Harvey, as though a president should allow a natural disaster to block his decision-making on all other important issues.
Trump pointed out to a hostile press corps on Monday that President Clinton issued many pardons of shady characters. Obama, for his part, granted a record number of commutations while he was president, none as distinguished as Sheriff Joe.
Prior Republican presidents would have been too cowardly to pardon Sheriff Joe, and Republican leadership in Congress pathetically criticizes Trump now. But the need to check judicial supremacy requires acting promptly to block the overreach, and Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe proved why he was Phyllis Schlafly’s choice, not an echo.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously on September 6.