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?”
Me: “A hero?”
Arpaio: “That's hard for me to answer. Because I never had a hero in my life until several months ago when I woke up after 75 years and I found my hero. You know who that person is? Donald Trump.” https://t.co/OCjq8yhLYV
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) August 28, 2018
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 (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
Social media was not at all surprised by Arpaio’s answer, though many found it to be pretty sad.
When you've lived to 75 and your first and only hero is Donald Trump, you've had a miserable life.
— Bruno Amato (@BrunoAmato_1) August 28, 2018
I guess getting saved from certainly dying in prison was hero like in Sheriff Joe's little racist mind.
— Chief Chris John S. McCain (@ChrisPizza4) August 28, 2018
The quirky thing is that in American English, at least, it is customary to call 'Hero' a person you admire, a good role model.
Someone could perform an heroic act, and still be a person not worth admiration. Imagine Trump risking his life to save someone else's.
I know… Never!
— Juan Arango (@ModusTollens) August 28, 2018
Twitter thought Arpaio should raise his standards on whom he views as a “hero.”