At a diner known for political chitchat and Coca-Cola memorabilia, former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio walked from table to table on a recent fall morning, asking voters to back him for mayor of his Phoenix-area hometown — and to support the former president who once rescued him from a potential prison sentence.
“Are you for Trump?” Arpaio asked one restaurant patron, as town council members, a Republican Party activist and a Bible study group ate breakfast at tables nearby.
In the six years since Arpaio received Donald Trump’s first presidential pardon, the ex-sheriff known nationally for his anti-immigrant agenda has worked hard to boost his staunch ally in this swing state — from pressing voters one by one to vote for Trump in 2024 to issuing endorsements that the former president has reposted to millions of followers online.
Never before had a president used his constitutional clemency powers to free or forgive so many people who could be useful to his future political efforts. A Washington Post review of Trump’s 238 clemency orders found that dozens of recipients, including Arpaio, have gone on to plug his 2024 candidacy through social media and national interviews, contribute money to his front-running bid for the Republican nomination or disseminate his false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. [Continue reading…]