The conservative editorial board for the Wall Street Journal blasted President Donald Trump for politicizing the law by pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“Mr. Trump’s power to pardon is undeniable, but pardoning Mr. Arpaio sends a message that law enforcers can ignore court orders and get away with it,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote Sunday. “All you need is a political ally in the White House or Governor’s mansion. Down that road lies anarchy.”
The editorial board praised Attorney General Jeff Sessions for refusing to stop the judicial process from playing out, and smacked Trump for issuing his pardon before the former sheriff could be sentenced or granted an appeal.
“Mr. Trump may hope the pardon will energize supporters, but it is also dividing the GOP. Even before the contempt citation, Sheriff Arpaio’s aggressive tactics were becoming unpopular, and in November he was defeated by 13 points,” the paper wrote. “Mr. Trump’s disdain for federal judges also isn’t making friends in the federal judiciary that will have to rule on his decisions in the coming years. The Arpaio pardon is a depressing sign of our hyper-politicized times.”
The newspaper appealed to the president’s supporters, saying conservatives should be outraged in spite of Democratic defense of former Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS official Lois Lerner in the face of congressional contempt citations.
“All true and deplorable, but since when does liberal hypocrisy justify conservative disdain for the law?” the editorial board wrote. “Mr. Trump should be setting a better standard than imitating Barack Obama, but polarized politics is leading America to a bad place where policy agreement or political support makes right. You pardon your lawbreakers and we’ll pardon ours.”