Ryan breaks with Trump on Arpaio pardon
Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP chairman to discuss Charlottesville as domestic terrorism at hearing Trump’s isolation grows GOP lawmaker: Trump ‘failing’ in Charlottesville response MORE (R-Wis.) disagrees with President Trump’s decision to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
“The speaker does not agree with the decision,” Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres told The Wall Street Journal. “Law-enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon.”
The White House announced on Friday the president would pardon Arpaio, who had been found of contempt of court after being ordered to stop racially profiling.
Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Trump’s decision to spare Arpaio has stirred controversy on both sides of the political aisle.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), said on Saturday the pardon demonstrates “flagrant disregard for the rule of law in this country.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) also ripped the decision, but he did concede the president had the authority to make the decision.
“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,” McCain said in a statement.
Ryan’s decision to break with Trump over the pardon could add to the growing tensions between the two.
Trump earlier this week targeted Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has ‘level of sympathy’ for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.) on Twitter, pressuring the Republican leadership to ensure that Trump’s legislative agenda, specifically tax reform, is able to pass through both chambers this fall.
Ryan and McConnell have already come under fire from the president over the failure to pass ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation.