U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-9) blasted President Trump over the weekend for Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, calling Trump’s action “dangerous” and saying the president has “once against abused his authority and divided our nation.”
Earlier this month, the Democratic congressman, whose district includes Memphis, said he would introduce articles of impeachment against Trump because of his comments following violent confrontations in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and radical leftists.
Trump pardoned Arpaio on Friday, praising the 85-year-old in a White House statement for his “admirable service.”
Arpaio was recently convicted of misdemeanor contempt for defying a judge’s order stop traffic patrols that were said to unfairly target immigrants. As sheriff, Arpaio was known for his fight against illegal immigration. He lost re-election last year.
Here is Cohen’s full statement released Saturday:
President Trump’s pardoning of Joe Arpaio isn’t just bad, it’s dangerous. The President continues to show a callous disregard for the independence of our federal judiciary. Even worse, he did so in defense of a man who had been criminally convicted of failing to follow a court order in connection with a lawsuit involving racial profiling. This was not only a terrible decision, but if reports are accurate that he did not consult the Department of Justice, it was also done incredibly irresponsibly. Presidents have a duty to consult professionals and experts before taking action. Authoritarianism always starts with attacks on the press and the judiciary. We must guard against these kind of attacks against democracy. The rule of law is one of our basic precepts. We fought a revolution to place the law above men. By pardoning the former sheriff, the President has once again abused his authority and divided our nation. I will be reviewing the President’s action with my Judiciary Committee colleagues to determine how best to address it.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-5) was also critical of Trump, tweeting:
The President continues to divide – not unite – our nation and abuse the power of the office. https://t.co/1JDP1wEdaH
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) August 26, 2017