Donald Trump has once again demonstrated that he has no intention of trying to unite this nation. On the heels of his disastrous comments regarding Charlottesville, Virginia, he followed up by pardoning Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a federal district judge’s order to stop racially profiling Latinos, detaining people solely based on suspicion of their immigration status, when there was no evidence that a state law had been broken.
Trump’s actions send a chilling message to Latinos and people of color everywhere that he will ignore the Constitution and protect those who violate it. It is another dog whistle to the Alt-Right and his white supremacist supporters and undermines efforts to build better relationships between communities of color and law enforcement.
Mr. Trump’s supporters hail the pardon as a sign the president was keeping his word on his campaign pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. But Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona denounced the pardon stating: “No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold.”
Trump’s refusal to support the Constitution and the rule of law clearly shows his willingness to divide Americans. So be it Mr. President, game on. History has taught us how to fight discrimination.
Michael E. Waters