Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio has only one hero, and that hero is President Donald Trump, the controversial former sheriff told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt on Tuesday.
Hunt had asked Arpaio if he considered Arizona's late Senator John McCain to be a patriot and a hero.
"That's hard for me to answer. Because I never had a hero in my life until several months ago when I woke up and I found my hero."
And yes, he's talking about Donald Trump.
Me: “Do you think John McCain is a patriot?” Arpaio: "Yes.” Me: “A hero?” Arpaio: “That's hard for me to answer. Be… https://t.co/j6xmBISK1P— Kasie Hunt (@Kasie Hunt)1535466185.0
Arpaio, who endorsed Trump's 2016 bid for president early in the campaign, has been a controversial figure in Arizona politics for decades, having served as Maricopa County Sherriff. Notably, he pridefully boasted that his detention centers were comparable to concentration camps.
"I’m not going to back down,” Arpaio said in an interview. "So what? Maybe it is a concentration camp. I don’t want to make it look nice, like the Hilton Hotel. I want to say it’s a tough place so people don’t want to come there."
Trump pardoned Arpaio in April 2017 after the former sheriff was convicted of contempt of court for his treatment of detained undocumented immigrants.
"Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration," the White House said in a statement. "Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon."
Today, Arpaio is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Arizona for the chance to replace Jeff Flake in the U.S. Senate. His bid for the Republican nomination is considered a longshot, as he's up against former State Senator Kelli Ward and Congresswoman Martha McSally.
Clearly from his response, Arpaio is still quite moved by Trump's pardon.
At the time, Arpaio was publicly incredibly grateful for Trump's pardon, even channeling Trump's own rhetoric:
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@Sheriff Joe Arpaio)1503709674.0
Social media was not at all surprised by Arpaio's answer, though many found it to be pretty sad.
@kasie @gladiolaz When you've lived to 75 and your first and only hero is Donald Trump, you've had a miserable life.— Bruno Amato (@Bruno Amato)1535472027.0
@BrunoAmato_1 @kasie @gladiolaz I guess getting saved from certainly dying in prison was hero like in Sheriff Joe's little racist mind.— Chief Chris (@Chief Chris)1535472382.0
@ChrisPizza4 @BrunoAmato_1 @kasie @gladiolaz The quirky thing is that in American English, at least, it is customar… https://t.co/J89tXraIlP— Juan Arango (@Juan Arango)1535474350.0
Twitter thought Arpaio should raise his standards on whom he views as a "hero."
"So a criminal," as one user referred to Trump, "is a hero."
@kasie So a criminal..is his hero. Well, it makes sense..it’s why trump has a 30plus rating. There are that many pe… https://t.co/3sOr30awW4— spring (@spring)1535467228.0
@kasie @NakedWookieeUK A hero is a corrupt individual who helps cover up my crimes and absolves me of all accountab… https://t.co/VCYJA4TiOL— Sarah Lertzman (@Sarah Lertzman)1535472311.0
He really had no heroes before Trump? Seriously?
@sllertzman @kasie What's more absurd is he claims no one in his life till Dotard came along was a hero to him. Mus… https://t.co/iYmyco313M— NakedWookiee (@NakedWookiee)1535472668.0
Two peas in a pod.
@NakedWookieeUK @sllertzman @kasie I think it’s telling of Arpaio own narcissism. He demonstrated it quite clearly… https://t.co/A04ox21FHj— Cindi (@Cindi)1535481680.0
Others were disappointed with Hunt's line of questioning.
@kasie @lilsliceofcraze SERIOUSLY! How can you interview someone running for freaking Senator and not ask him abou… https://t.co/bk81JD8id3— David Tyler (@David Tyler)1535466732.0
@kasie Of all the things available to report on, and people to interview.— justin (@justin)1535466580.0
@kasie We don’t care! Makes me sick and makes me sick that this is new worthy— Marilee (@Marilee)1535467253.0
2018 just keeps on giving.