'A middle finger to America': What people are saying about Trump's first presidential pardon

President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa C0unty, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio received some mixed reactions on Friday night, but lawmakers and civil-rights advocates largely condemned the move.

Arpaio, a staunch Trump supporter and compatriot in Trump’s yearslong and fruitless quest to disprove President Barack Obama’s citizenship, was found guilty last month of criminal contempt for violating the terms of a 2011 court order in a racial profiling case.

He lost a re-election bid last year. The 85-year-old lawman thanked Trump for the pardon and lauded him for “standing by law enforcement.”

Here’s what other people are saying about Trump’s pardon of Arpaio:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: A 'mockery of rule of law.'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Nancy Pelosi.

Trump's 'pardon of fellow birther Arpaio makes mockery of rule of law, & says communities of colour can be targeted & abused w/ total impunity,' Pelosi said on Twitter.

Jeff Flake, the junior Arizona senator, said Trump should have let 'the judicial process ... take its course.'

Getty Images/Pool
Jeff Flake.

Flake wrote on Twitter: 'Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honour the judicial process and let it take its course.'

Arizona 7th Congressional District Rep. Ruben Gallego: Trump 'blessed Arpaio's racist and unconstitutional police practices.'

Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

Gallego said: 'By pardoning Joe Arpaio, Donald Trump has blessed Arpaio's racist and unconstitutional police practices. Trump's pardon of Arpaio is unconscionable and unworthy of the White House. This is Trump's first pardon of a crony. Will it be his last?'

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump 'used the cover of the storm,' referring to Hurricane Harvey, to pardon Arpaio.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Chuck Schumer.

Schumer said: 'As millions of people in TX and LA are prepping for the hurricane, the President is using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court's order to stop discriminating against Latinos and nan courageous transgender men and women from serving our nation's Armed Forces. So sad, so weak.'

'Instead of seeking to unify the country as promised, POTUS has doubled down on encouraging white supremacists post-Charlottesville. Joe Arpaio ignored the courts and the rule of law in order to systematically target Latinos in AZ. The definition of racism and bigotry.'

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut: This is a 'middle finger to America.'

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Chris Murphy.

Murphy said: 'The Arpaio pardon is basically a big middle finger to America. A loud, proud declaration that this Administration supports racism.'

Republican strategist and conservative commentator Ana Navarro: 'It's another slap in the face to the Latino community.'

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for New York Times
Republican strategist and conservative commentator Ana Navarro.

Navarro torched the pardon on Friday night:

'This is a slap in the face to the Latino community, to most of us in the Latino community -- perhaps not the guy who hates taco trucks -- but a lot of other Latinos see Joe Arpaio as a symbol of racism of discrimination, of racial profiling, of abuses of civil rights, and the president of the United States has seen fit to pardon him today in a very extraordinary move, and I think he didn't do it in Arizona earlier in the week because he knew all hell would break loose.

Because he knew there would be thousands of impromptu protesters that would have shown up outside that rally to protest that act and what it would have meant. That's why the mayor of Phoenix warned him not to go to Arizona, because he was afraid that he was going to pardon Joe Arpaio. and what that would mean in that community -- turning it into another Charlottesville.

So we have a president of the United States, a so-called president of the United States -- I call him president of the divided states -- that in the last two weeks, has stood with racists, with white supremacists, with neo-Nazis, and now with this man who is a symbol for civil rights abuses and racial profiling. He is the President of 34 per cent of Americans, that's about it.'

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse:

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Sheldon Whitehouse.

'Arpaio systemically discriminated against AZ Latinos in defiance of our Constitution and ignored our courts,' Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said on Friday. 'He does not deserve a pardon.'

'Now is a time to bind the wounds left by white nationalists' repugnant attacks in Charlottesville. Instead, President Trump has again doubled down on the side of ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and hate.'

Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone: 'Eat it, liberals!'

Hollis Johnson

Roger Stone indicated he saw the pardon as a political move.

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