To Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), the former Maricopa County sheriff’s name has evoked bigotry for years.
In an interview with CNN’s John Berman, Castro was unequivocal in his condemnations of both President Donald Trump, who pardoned Arpaio on Friday, and the sheriff himself.
“The president used his office to pardon a bigot tonight,” Castro said. “Joe Arpaio really is a stain on law enforcement across the country.”
For years, the Texas congressman continued, Arpaio “targeted and harassed Hispanics in Arizona,” oftentimes forcing people who appeared Latino to show them their identification in spite of courts ordering him not to.
“He should have served his time,” Castro continued. “This was wrong for the president to do.”
Though the president said earlier this week that Arpaio was “just doing his job,” Castro argued that “the courts disagreed with his assessment.”
“For the president not to go through the Department of Justice and the regular vetting process for a pardon is just another astonishing oddity of this presidency,” Castro told Berman.
Though Latinos “bore the brunt” of Arpaio’s bigotry, Castro continued, it was “the people of Maricopa County that finally had enough. That includes whites, Hispanics, African Americans and everyone who rejected, ultimately, his practices.”
Arpaio’s continued refusal to acquiesce to court rulings ordering him to cease the illegal identification searches that landed him with his sentence.
“He repeatedly [carried out the illegal searches] even though a court told him to stop — ordered him to stop,” Castro continued. “The reason that he was criminally convicted is because he ignored the judicial branch and he continued to do that even after he was ordered to stop.”
In doing so, Castro and others have noted, Trump condoned the constitutional violation Arpaio committed.
“Today the president of the United States validated that by pardoning him,” the congressman concluded.
Watch the entire segment below, via CNN.