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Peeling the Orange: Arpaio's pardoning proves where Trump's interests lie

Hoo, boy. A lot happened over the summer didn’t it? It’s probably too much for even the shortest possible list. But more than anything else, we learned in dizzying detail that Donald Trump is wildly incapable of sitting in the Oval Office (hence his many golfing trips). I’ll later go into more detail on whether I think his more anti-democratic moves are due to a sort of low cunning or an attempt to shore up his cracked ego, but today I want to take a look at his most recent violation of presidential norms: the pardoning of Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio is kind of the worst, and by kind of, I mean the worst, most racist sheriff in American history. His infamous tent camps, which operated in both the heat of Arizona’s summers and its chilly winters, show that the man is as inhumane as they come. During the summer, there’s only overpriced, warm, and limited vending machine water to keep cool with, and the showers were always set to nearly boiling. And during the winter, the prisoners were not allowed to have ANY warm clothing.

Before the “but if they did a crime they should suffer” people come in, note that being in jail does not necessarily mean they’re legally guilty. People who can’t pay bail are usually made to await trial in prison, and this is in a county where being Latinx is sufficient grounds for arrest.

Unsurprisingly, he was a staunch ally of Donald Trump in 2016.

This bloke was so racist that many violent crimes in his area of jurisdiction, including sex crimes, went uninvestigated. This got so bad that the courts eventually ordered him to stop this pattern of illegal discrimination, which he happily ignored. After his ouster in 2016’s election, one of the few good things that happened on Nov. 8th, he was slapped with a contempt of court charge for his actions. 

But then Trump pardoned him the night Hurricane Harvey made landfall, as if that would protect him from the fallout. Trump then went on to claim it would have better TV ratings, so that's neat.

He wasn’t going to face much jail time — he’s an 85-year-old man — but pardoning him for contempt of court, and by extension the frankly obscene amount Arpaio is going to get away with now, stings incredibly hard. It also has the effect of solidifying the president’s ideological connection to white supremacy even more firmly than his response to Charlottesville did, along with his general contempt for the rule of law. He can get rid of the white supremacists in his cabinet all he wants, but it won’t matter, because it turns out the one person we can’t fire is the biggest white supremacist of them all.

Logan Graham is a senior studying media arts with a focus in games and animation at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think of Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio? Let him know by emailing him at

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