Arpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon

Arpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon
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Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Maricopa County sheriff, said he’s considering running for his old position in Arizona in 2020 following a pardon from President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE.

"I'm very strongly thinking about it, very strongly considering it," Arpaio told ABC News in response to a question about the 2020 elections. "I'll decide next month, and I always have a flare for these sorts of things."

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Trump pardoned Arpaio in 2017 for his conviction on criminal contempt of a federal court after he refused to follow an order that he cease detaining people based on their immigration status.

Arpaio also sparked criticism for housing some of the prisoners under his supervision in outdoor “tent cities” and using so-called chain gangs.

Arpaio also told ABC News that he met with Trump earlier this year, but would not confirm what they discussed. He added that if he were to run he would continue to campaign on false claims that former President Obama was not born in the U.S. 

"I'm not a politician who worries about talking about things because they may lose a few votes. I brought it up in my last election and I'm not going to stop. Why would I stop?" Arpaio said. 

The former sheriff ran in the Republican Senate primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R) but lost to Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 Planned Parenthood targets GOP senators in seven-figure ad campaign MORE, who was later appointed to the Senate. 

News of Arpaio’s potential run, which would likely also focus on his hard-line views on immigration, comes amid increased scrutiny over the Trump administration’s efforts to boost migrant detentions and deportations and the president’s rhetoric that four congresswomen of color should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Arpaio defended the president, telling ABC News he likely meant that the four women should join the Peace Corps. 

"I'm sure the president was probably saying go back there," Arpaio said. "I can't speak for him. But I'm sure not going to criticize him."

"One deciding factor thing would be is Trump and I will be running again together, just like 2016 but now in 2020," Arpaio added, saying that running for office at the same time as Trump would boost his own campaign.