Eugene Robinson on 'Morning Joe': Arpaio 'viciously racist'

Eugene Robinson on 'Morning Joe': Arpaio 'viciously racist'
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MSNBC's Eugene Robinson called Joe Arpaio "viciously racist" and said President Trump "is sending a real message to the country" in pardoning the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., on Friday. 

"It’s incredible that President Trump uses the vast pardon powers of the presidency, first and only time so far, to pardon the guy who has been found by court to be guilty of being viciously racist," Robinson said on "Morning Joe."

"Arpaio would not stop racially profiling anybody he thought looked Latino, which is incredible," he continued. "That sends a real message to the country, and it’s not a good message." 

Robinson pivoted to ask if Trump's decision will upset federal judges moving forward. 

"What kind of political strategy or survival strategy is based on alienating and angering the federal judiciary?" Robinson asked. 

"Why does a president, especially one potentially facing all kinds of legal trouble with his associates and friends and aides facing all sorts of legal trouble, why go out of your way to anger federal judges?"

The White House late Friday announced the pardon in a statement that praised Arpaio for "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 in July of criminal contempt by a judge in Arizona for disobeying a federal order on detaining individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.