Reality Show President Timed Arpaio Pardon for Ratings

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. Arpaio says he isn't asking now President Donald Trump to issue a pardon for his misdemeanor conviction last week for defying a judge's order to stop his immigration patrols, even though he endorsed Trump and shared the stage with him at several rallies during the 2016 campaign. The former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix said he doesn't expect anything in return for his support of Trump and that he doesn't feel abandoned by the president. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

That is not a typo. It’s not a joke. It’s real. President Trump said in a press conference that he deliberately timed the pardon of Joe Arpaio to maximize the coverage it would get from the media.

In a news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö he said the following:

“In the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally. You know, the hurricane was just starting.”

He went on to praise Arpaio:

“He’s done a great job for the people of Arizona, he’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him right before the election voting started.”

Trump went on to make two questionable if not outright false claims.

First, he said the decision to find Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt came down “right before” the election. The election was in November. The verdict was rendered in July.

Second, Trump said Arpaio lost a close election. Arpaio lost by 11 points in a heavily Republican county.

If Arpaio were so beloved by the people in Arizona, as Trump claims, he would have won his election.

But at least the ratings were good.