Convicted criminal and former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is back in the news Tuesday, and it’s for a reason that probably won’t surprise anyone familiar with the retired law man-turned-senate candidate.
Trump, for his part, is a big fan of the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” In fact, Arpaio would be rotting away in jail today after he was convicted in July of 2017 of contempt were it not for an unprecedented first-year pardon from President Trump.
The Trump-Arpaio bromance actually began years before the 2016 election, when both joined the Birther Movement, that motley collection of conspiracy theorists and racist, right-wing ideologues who set out to prove that Barack Obama was born outside of the United States, and therefore ineligible to serve as president.
After Obama released his long-form birth certificate, proving that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii, most birthers begrudgingly accepted the truth and moved on, or at least stopped crying about it. But not Arpaio. He remains convinced that Obama was ineligible to be president, something he revealed to supporters on the campaign trail as he attempts to fill the Senate seat currently held by the retiring Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
According to Right Wing Watch, Arpaio “told a small gathering at last weekend’s Western Conservative Conference in Phoenix that while he’s ‘kind of dropping’ his birther claims about President Obama while he campaigns, he’ll start bringing them up more if he’s elected to the Senate because ‘100 percent we proved”’ that the former president’s birth certificate is “a fake document.”
More from Right Wing Watch:
“In a speech to a small group at the event, which was posted on YouTube by the channel Tru Conservative TV, Arpaio recalled introducing Trump at a campaign rally in 2015 where he spoke about his and Trump’s shared interest in cracking down on immigration and in investigating Obama’s birth certificate.”
Arpaio’s disgraceful career should be long over. He lost the once blind support of the heavily Republican Maricopa County, whose citizens voted him out of office in 2016. But thanks to Donald Trump and the resurgence of the xenophobic base of the GOP, he’s suddenly relevant again.
Arizona’s shame could become a stain on the Senate.