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Arizona's largest newspaper slams Arpaio pardon

Arizona's largest newspaper issued a scathing rebuke of President Trump's decision to pardon former Maricopa Counter Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday, calling the action an "insult" and a "slap to the Latino community."

The Arizona Republic's editorial board argued that the pardoning of Arpaio is a sign that Trump is not backing down from his populist, tough-on-immigration stances.

The editorial calls Trump's Friday pardon of the controversial former sheriff an "insult" to the Latino community, as well as the legal community.

"The vast majority of Latinos in Arizona are not undocumented, yet they all fell under heightened scrutiny as Arpaio honed his image," the editorial reads.

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"The pardon was a slap to those who worked through the judicial system to make Arpaio accountable, too. It robbed the people hurt by his policies of justice – even before a judge could mete out a sentence," the piece continued. 

Arpaio was found guilty of racially profiling Latinos, and was convicted last month of criminal contempt for disobeying a judge's order to stop the practice.

"By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him. It is a goal," the publication's editorial board wrote. 

"That should trouble every American who believes that our duty as a nation is to continue working on behalf of equal justice," the board added.

Trump pardon of Arpaio, who was an early backer of his campaign, prompted criticism from Arizona's two GOP senators as well as the mayor of Phoenix.

“Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders,” Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster Heatwaves don't lie: Telling the truth about climate change Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post MORE (R-Ariz.) said in a statement Friday.

"Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course," Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Trump looms large over fractured Arizona GOP Why Republican politicians are sticking with Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) wrote in a tweet.  

“Pardoning Joe Arpaio is a slap in the face to the people of Maricopa County, especially the Latino community and those he victimized as he systematically and illegally violated their civil rights,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) said in a statement.

Arpaio announced that he would hold a press conference on Monday, saying, "I'm not going down without trying to defend myself to all of those people who don't like what I've done."