WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker on President Trump's pardon of ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
"President Trump didn't just pardon a thug and a criminal, he undermined the rule of law and betrayed the basic norms of our democracy just to hype up his base. Democrats and Republicans alike, including Sen. John McCain and even right-wing members of Congress, have condemned this action because Trump's blatant abuse of power undermines the dignity of the office of the presidency and tears at the fabric of a just and fair democracy built on the rule of law for all.
"Ex-Sheriff Arpaio used the power of his office to harass, discriminate against and racially profile Latinos and immigrants, mistreat prisoners, unlawfully detain U.S. citizens and permanent residents, terrify and separate families, and turn routine traffic stops into a mass deportation strategy. He was convicted of violating constitutional rights, defied the courts and was voted out of office by the people of Arizona. He is a birther and is unrepentant about anything he did to other human beings. By pardoning him, Trump is sending a message to all who want to follow in Arpaio's footsteps that the president of the United States approves of those who use their office to violate our constitutional rights and inflict pain on our communities. And he continues to embolden white supremacist forces in our nation."