Arizona Republic Editorial Board: Trump’s Pardon of Arpaio Shows Institutional Racism ‘Is His Goal’

“Many will characterize it as a slap to the Latino community – and it is,” the letter reads

The Arizona Republic editorial board has slammed Donald Trump’s decision to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, stating that the pardon shows institutional racism is the president’s “goal.”

“Many hoped Trump would decide to become the president of all the people. But Trump spent last week demonstrating that he wants to be president of the few,” the letter read. “By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him. It is a goal.”

On Friday, Trump pardoned Arpaio, the headline-grabbing former Phoenix-area sheriff whose crackdown on undocumented immigrants was called racial profiling by many and led to a criminal contempt conviction last month. In a statement Friday evening, the White House said that Arpaio, the ex-Maricopa County sheriff, is a “worthy candidate for a presidential pardon.”

Arpaio is known for publicity magnet initiatives, such as making jail inmates wear pink and for his enforcement of Arizona’s hotly disputed immigration law, but he also has TV connections. Last month, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for violating a judge’s order to stop discriminatory policing tactics.

“While America was talking about tearing down monuments that offend historically oppressed people, Donald Trump effectively erected yet another one,” the letter read, referencing the events in Charlottesville earlier this month.

“Donald Trump’s pardon elevates Arpaio once again to the pantheon of those who see institutional racism as something that made America great,” the letter continued. “Many will characterize it as a slap to the Latino community – and it is … The pardon was a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law.”

Trump hinted he would pardon Arpaio at a rally in Phoenix earlier this week, telling a boisterous crowd that he wouldn’t do it then because he didn’t want to cause controversy.

Soon after Trump made his Phoenix remarks, the ACLU objected, tweeting: “President Trump should not pardon Joe Arpaio. #PhoenixRally #noarpaiopardon,” accompanied with a graphic that reads, “No, President Trump. Arpaio was not ‘just doing his job.’ He was violating the Constitution and discriminating against Latinos.”

Read the Republic’s full letter here. A spokesperson for Trump has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.