Chicago Tribune columnist: Trump's Arpaio pardon a signal to snitches, 'gangsta politics'

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page is calling President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio "gangsta politics" and a signal to anybody who might want to testify against the president.

"He sends a signal to his base with the Arpaio move," Page told CBS "Face the Nation" fill-in host Major Garrett on Sunday. "But back in Chicago, we’d say this is good example of gangsta politics. He’s sending a signal to anybody who might want to snitch on him or testify against him that, 'Hey, I’m going to protect you. I’m going to watch out for my people. I am loyal to my people. And I’ll pardon Joe Arpaio. I will pardon other people if I want to do it.' "

"And the Republicans give good lip service to opposing him, but they care about their agenda, too," Page continued. "They need him too much right now.

"And so he’s getting away with it at this point. And the question is, 'How long will he get away with it?' "

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The White House late Friday announced the pardon in a statement that stressed Arpaio's years of public service, praising his work "protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration."

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon," it added.

Arpaio was convicted on July 31 of criminal contempt by a judge in Arizona for disobeying a federal order on detaining individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.