The controversial former sheriff was a prominent backer of Trump
He was found guilty of criminal contempt
President Donald Trump will not declare a decision on whether to pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Sanders, speaking on Air Force One as Trump headed to Arizona for a hotly anticipated speech, said no news would come about Arpaio, either way, during the Tuesday stop.
“I can tell you that there will be no discussion of that today at any point, and no action will be taken on that front at any time today,” Sanders said.
Trump stoked the speculation himself when earlier this month he told Fox News he was considering pardoning the controversial former Maricopa County sheriff, whom a federal judge found in contempt. He went on to retweet an article about his comments.
Arpaio has told CNN he was not invited to Trump’s Phoenix rally on Tuesday.
CNN reported Monday the Justice Department had not been consulted about a potential pardon of Arpaio. The Justice Department is generally consulted about pardoning decisions, although there is no requirement for the President to do so before granting a pardon.
Arpaio made a name for himself as the so-called “toughest sheriff” in the country for his approach to undocumented immigration. He has faced accusations of racial profiling and other civil liberty violations.
He became well known for his treatment of those he held in an outdoor jail or “Tent City,” where he made people wear pink underwear and work in chain gangs.
During the 2016 campaign, Arpaio backed Trump’s talk on undocumented immigration and became a prominent supporter. But Arpaio lost his own election in November and was found guilty of criminal contempt this summer. The former sheriff’s sentencing is scheduled for October 5, where he could face up to six months behind bars.
CNN’s Allison Malloy contributed to this report.