Appearing on CNN this morning, Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio became the latest Trump apologist left embarrassingly twisting in the wind by an abrupt change of direction from Donald Trump on one of his key, signature issues. I don’t really keep up with Arpaio – it seems likely that he’s soon going to be headed to jail himself for contempt of court – but through the slurred speech and total incoherence I gather that, like every other not-very-closeted fan of authoritarianism, he is totally not bothered that Trump is changing his tune on Arpaio’s signature issue.
Rough transcript follows:
Carol Costello, CNN: … welcome, sir.
Arpaio: Good morning.
Costello: Good morning, sir. Mr. Trump said, quote, we’re going to follow the law, we have very very strong laws in this country. You are in favor of toughening our immigration laws. Are you disappointed in Mr. Trump’s remarks?
Arpaio: No, I’m not disappointed. You know, I supported him from day one, about the law, cracking down on illegal immigration, I still do. Uh, the laws are complicated, he’s going to I’m sure study that law, and he’s going to follow the law, and see where that takes us, uh, on enforcing the illegal immigration problem that we have… [crosstalk] (NB – I transcribed this part exactly. I have no idea what it means any more than you do).
Costello: What about this idea, sir, that Donald Trump is opening to softening his stance. What do you think that means and should he soften his stance when it comes to immigration?
Arpaio: I.. I don’t know about softening the stance, uh, he’s going to meet with the minority groups. He’s a great negotiator, he’s a great guy, he has a great heart, so why not meet with the people and explain how he feels, and maybe negotiate and see how they feel. There’s nothing wrong with that, whether it’s illegal immigration or private business or anything else. So I’m.. [crosstalk] going to meet with those people.
Costello: So it would be okay with you if he didn’t deport all those 11 million undocumented immigrants that are in the country now?
Arpaio: Well, we’ll have to see what happens. We’ll have to see what the laws are. Many laws, you have, uh…
Costello: Well, you know more than anyone what the laws are, so you tell me.
Arpaio: Well, you know, the laws are there but it’s complicated. This is very complicated when you talk about illegal immigration, talk about visas, overextending your visas, work permits, so why not look at it? I’m not saying we should give these guys, the guys who are here a pass, but let’s talk to them and negotiate with them and let’s enforce the law. If it’s against the law for them to be here illegally (note, by definition it is against the law for anyone to be anywhere illegally), then you enforce the law. That’s how simple it is.
I don’t know about you, but I especially enjoyed the part where Arpaio said the immigration laws are “very complicated” and then said enforcing them was “just that simple” within about 10 seconds of each other. I’m also a big fan of the part where he suggests that Trump might set immigration policy through a process of negotiation with illegal immigrants.
Arpaio is even worse than the people who are actually horrified at Trump’s pivot on immigration. See, at least they believe something identifiable:
When you’ve lost Byron & Mickey… pic.twitter.com/KmfK79ltrH
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) August 24, 2016
On the other hand, while it’s tempting to feel pity for people who sincerely believe that the barn door should be shut behind them and their ancestors – for the good of the country, you know – it’s not really a worthwhile exercise. One of the things that Trump opponents pointed out regularly and often on the primary trail was that Trump didn’t actually believe in anything and would betray literally everything he was promising to conservatives, including on immigration.
What people like Mickey Kaus and Ann Coulter believed was, sure, Trump might betray the stupid pro-lifers or the dumb budget hawks, but he’ll never roll over on us. Well, guess what – just like we predicted he would, he did. So if you want people who will take pity on your condition instead of pointing and laughing at you for looking like the naifs that you are, look elsewhere.