Of course he is. Life with no media attention isn’t worth living for the 85-year-old, race-baiting former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in 2017, after he spent years flagrantly ignoring a court order to stop profiling and detaining people he suspected were unauthorized immigrants. Trump pardoned him in August.
Arpaio is running for the seat held by Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who had announced his retirement on the Senate floor in a speech denouncing Trump. “Write about it fast,” Flake said on Tuesday about Arpaio’s campaign, “because it won’t last long.” So here we go.
“I have a lot to offer,” Arpaio told The Washington Examiner.
No, he doesn’t.
Arpaio made his name by mistreating Latino immigrants and petty criminals, whom he imprisoned in a “Tent City” where temperatures reached 120 degrees and Arpaio devised a menu of cruelties ranging from making them wear pink underwear to serving them miserable food.
After the Maricopa County sheriff’s office detained a Latino man with a valid visa for nine hours in 2007, a class-action lawsuit led to an injunction requiring Arpaio’s office to end its immigration-related stops. Arpaio defied the injunction for years, boasting about it to the news media. He was convicted and facing a potential six-month jail sentence when he was pardoned.
Arpaio is similar to Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate vanquished by Doug Jones in Alabama last month. A tough-talking champion to far-right conservatives, Arpaio is a morally repugnant publicity hound to Arizonans who’d like their state to be known for something more noble than racial profiling and “Tent City.”
His entire platform pretty much consists of “I’m a big supporter of President Trump.” And since Trump suggested on Tuesday that he’d endorse a deal to eventually grant millions of unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship, a squirming “Sheriff Joe” came up with what he called “a far-out plan”:
“When they come to your attention that they’re here illegally, these young people, deport them back to Mexico — or whatever — and then try to put them on a fast track to come back into the United States legally with special permits. What’s wrong with that? They’d say they don’t know where their home country is, so let them go there and spend six months, because it might take that long to do paperwork to get them here legally, and let them see their home country and see what it’s really like. They ought to be proud where they came from ... So, you could kill two birds with one stone."
Arpaio acknowledges this idea “may look stupid.” Yep.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.