Trump-pardoned Joe Arpaio cheered by far-right after saying people think he is ‘biggest racist’ in US

Donald Trump pardoned the disgraced former sheriff in 2017

Eric Garcia
Saturday 26 February 2022 20:30 GMT
(Getty Images)

Attendees at a far-right conference in Florida cheered former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio when he said that he was considered the “biggest racist” in the United States.

Mr Arpaio spoke at the America First Political Action Conference, a far-right gathering organised by white nationalist Nick Fuentes. Other speakers included Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene. It was hosted the same weekend as the American Conservative Union hosted its annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

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“I have the reputation of being the biggest racist in the country. Think of that,” he said to uproarious applause.

“I hate to – what are you clapping for? That I am or I’m not,” Mr Arpaio said in response. “Well I’m not. I know you guys and gals aren’t either. Just trying to do the right thing for our country.”

Mr Arpaio served as sheriff for Maricopa County from 1993 to 2017, when he earned a reputation for being especially harsh on undocumented immigrants. During his tenure, he operated the infamous “Tent City Jail,” where inmates were often forced to wear pink underwear and hot conditions in the Arizona summer and also forced them into chain gangs, as The New York Times reported.

In July of 2017, Mr Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for knowingly violating a federal judge’s order to not detain immigrants simply because of their legal status. Former president Donald Trump later pardoned Mr Arpaio.

He later ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for Senate in 2018 but came in third.

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