Speaking to a capacity crowd in Phoenix on Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump declined to actually pardon controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but repeatedly stated that the Sheriff will “just fine.” Trump asked the crowd if they believed that Arpaio was convicted for doing his job, to a loud applause. Trump then shrugged and said that while he believed Arpaio should have had a jury, he thinks “he’s going to be just fine.”
Watch the clip below:
However, Trump said that he would not pardon Arpaio on Tuesday (which had leakedearlier that day) because he did “not want to cause any controversy.”
“But Sheriff Joe can feel good,” continued Trump, to cheers from the audience. Arpaio was convicted of contempt in late July for refusing to stop traffic patrols intended to catch illegal immigrants. Trump then pivoted to discussing illegal immigration, and highlighted the successes his administration has had against groups such as MS-13. According to Trump, MS-13 (a violent street gang consisting mainly of El Salvadorans) has “never been thrown out” of the country as fast as they are now. He also discussed how the administration has been working to combat cartels and trafficking.
Throughout the night’s rally, Trump pledged to improve border security and build a border wall. He said that Arizonans in particular had seen the consequences of ignoring immigration law, and that it was important to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Some of Trump’s biggest applause lines of the night were his comments on illegal immigration.