In this segment on NBC's 'Meet The Press' roundtable, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson comments on President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Gerson says that Trump is essentially pardoning "himself" and his own toxic brand of politics. "In a weird way, this is kind of a self-pardon," he explained.
Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court over his decision (as head of the Maricopa county law enforcement) to racially profile Latinos during immigration patrols, and turn illegal immigrants over to federal authorities. The 85-year-old was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 and could have faced up to six months in jail, but it is unlikely that he would have faced any significant sentence at all.
Therefore, Gerson says the president's decision to pardon Arpaio was political: "This guy has made a career of dehumanization, that is what he has stood for in his position."
"And it fits, though, in a certain way, metaphorically, I think Trump is pardoning his own approach to politics, he is pardoning himself by pardoning Arpaio, because this is a politics based on dehumanization," he said.
"In this case, Muslims, refugees, migrants," Gerson adds, listing those he sees at Trump's enemies.
At that, Chuck Todd notes that he, as a member of the media, also claims victim status: "Don't forget members of the media!"
"In a weird way, this is a self-pardon," Gerson repeated.
NBC's Katy Tur agreed, saying that the two (Sheriff Joe and President Trump) are "one in the same."