As Republican lawmakers begin to reassess their support for Donald Trump, Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio echoed Trump’s argument that his rhetoric regarding federal judge Gonzalo Curiel has been taken out of context.
“Sometimes his words are twisted,” Arpaio said in an interview with Fox Business Channel on Tuesday. “I’m not gonna get involved in his case. But at least he has the guts to speak out and back up what he says. He may want to change here and there, but we need a guy that is brave, that doesn’t fall into these politics or the media.”
Trump has made it a point on the campaign trail to highlight his endorsement by Arpaio to signal his anti-immigration credentials on his way to secure the party’s presumptive presidential nomination. More recently, however, he has come under criticism — including from within the GOP — for attacking Curiel as a “hater” and as a “Mexican.”
But Arpaio — who has been criticized nationally for his own anti-immigrant policies — blamed the media for drawing attention to Trump’s remarks.
“Why don’t you drop it?” he complained to host Stuart Varney. “I’m not talking about you. But the media keeps harping. They’ve got to find something about him, something and they keep picking on this comment. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but leave it alone. Let’s go on to other things.”
Arpaio was ordered last week to pay detainees at least $1,000 apiece in a racial profiling case against his department. He also faces the possibility of being charged with contempt of court.
Watch footage from the interview, as posted online, below.