Bossert downplays significance of Arpaio pardon – Politico
President Donald Trump’s Friday evening pardon of controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio “is not something that is going to threaten our Constitutional order,” homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said Sunday morning, arguing that the widely criticized move was “pretty straightforward.”
“Just about every modern president ends up with some controversial pardons. But I think the president has been pretty clear on it. And I certainly don’t think it’s fair to characterize him as not caring about the rule of law,” Bossert told ABC’s “This Week.”
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Bossert was responding to a question about an essay published by The Atlantic by former Vice President Joe Biden, who cited the Arpaio pardon as evidence that Trump’s “contempt for the U.S. Constitution and willingness to divide this nation knows no bounds.”
Bossert also shed light on the president’s plan to force Mexico to fund his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, telling ABC that Trump would seek initial funding from Congress and then “as we work with the Mexicans in other policies and trade policies and such, we’ll determine ways for us to make that right.”
Trump, too, weighed in on the issue, writing on Twitter that “with Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other.” He added in a second post that, “We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate?”
The president’s pardon, which excused Arpaio from a contempt of court conviction stemming from racial profiling of Latinos in Arizona’s Maricopa County, was panned not just by Democrats but also by prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Amid questioning from ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos, Bossert consistently sought to downplay the pardon, saying it was relatively insignificant compared to the ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey, the storm that made landfall along the Texas coast last Friday and is expected to deluge much of the state with rain through much of the upcoming week.
That Trump’s pardon of Arpaio came Friday night just as the hurricane was making landfall fueled harsh criticism that the president was trying to hide his decision behind wall-to-wall storm coverage.
“I think there is some disproportionate coverage of it right now as I remain focused on the — and as Governor Abbott focuses on the 4.6 million people in the greater Houston area,” Bossert said, referring to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “I’m pretty certain, too, George that this is not something that is going to threaten our constitutional order. … My guess is that not too many people care about this one guy right now.”
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