WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump defended his pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Monday during a joint press conference with the president of Finland.
Trump pardoned Arpaio Friday, just three days after a rally in Phoenix in which the president strongly hinted that he was going to absolve the 85-year-old Arizona resident of a misdemeanor contempt-of-court conviction.
"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," Trump said.
Trump said that Arpaio is a "great veteran" and "great law enforcement person."
"Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders, and Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election - an election that he would have won," Trump said.
Arpaio was accused of prolonging immigration patrols for 17 months after a judge had ordered them to be stopped. The former sheriff has a history of misconduct, which includes a 2013 civil verdict where his officers were found to be racially profiling Latinos during those patrols.
The former sheriff faced a possible jail sentence because of his conviction.