To most people with any awareness of Arizona politics, Mr. Arpaio is an abomination to the rule of law, the principle of equal justice and plain decency.
.. abusing and humiliating them, refusing to stop even after a federal judge told him to, and arresting journalists for reporting on it all.
.. Yet to President Trump, Mr. Arpaio is a role model: a man for whom the “rule of law” means that he can do what he wants when he wants, who humiliates those weaker than him and mocks those who try to constrain him, who evades scrutiny and accountability — in short, a perfect little tyrant.
.. The Arpaio pardon is not only morally reprehensible on its own, it is also in line with Mr. Trump’s broader attitude toward law enforcement. Consider his affection for the Milwaukee County sheriff, David Clarke, an Arpaio in waiting who has called activists in the Black Lives Matter movement “terrorists” and who runs a county jail where inmates have a tendency to die under suspicious circumstances.
.. During the presidential campaign,
- Mr. Trump endorsed the use of torture on terrorism suspects,
- encouraged supporters at his rallies to assault protesters and
- made racially tinged comments about a judge overseeing a case involving Trump University.
In his seven months as president, Mr. Trump has
- attacked federal judges who ruled against the administration’s travel ban;
- tried to impede investigations into his allies, including Mr. Arpaio;
- and exhorted police officers to treat suspects roughly — which earned a quick rebuke from his own Justice Department and police officials around the country.
But this is Donald Trump’s rule of law — a display of personal dominance disconnected from concerns about law and order, equality or the Constitution.