Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmm

Mike Pence praises Joe Arpaio as a 'tireless champion' of 'the rule of law'

At an event Tuesday afternoon in Tempe, Arizona, hosted by America First Policies, a group led by controversial former Trump administration official Carl Higbie that promotes President Trump's agenda, Vice President Mike Pence had a special shout-out for a "favorite" member of the audience. "A great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law," Pence said, "Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I'm honored to have you here."

A federal judge ruled Arpaio in criminal contempt of court last year, after Arpaio had already lost his bid for re-election as Maricopa County sheriff, and she refused to vacate his conviction even after President Trump controversially pardoned him. Arpaio is running for an open U.S. Senate seat, fringe views and all, and if he wins the August primary, "you can kiss goodbye to that seat if you are a Republican," poll-watcher Harry Enten tweeted. "What is Mike Pence doing?!" That was one of the kinder reactions. You can get a sense of the broad repulsion at Arpaio's history in this brief thread from conservative columnist Bethany Mandel.

But he was clearly a star among the Trump fans in Tempe, so at least Pence knew his audience — assuming the comment wasn't for an audience of one back in Washington. Peter Weber