President Donald Trump will not pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio during his visit to Phoenix on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the press.
However, Sanders declined to rule out the possibility of a future pardon for the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump won't pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio tonight in Phoenix. Doesn't rule out the pardon though.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 22, 2017
Arpaio remained positive after the news, telling Vice, "He didn't say he's not going to do it. He said tonight."
Just talked to Joe Arpaio about AF1 gaggle on pardon.
"He didn't say he's not going to do it," Arpaio told VICE. "He said *tonight*"
— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcS) August 22, 2017
Reports circulated last week that Trump was considering pardoning Arpaio, who was an outspoken supporter of the president during his 2016 campaign.
"I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio," Trump said last Sunday. "He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He's a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him."
Arpaio, 85, was convicted of misdemeanor contempt of court for failing to obey a 2011 court order to stop anti-immigrant police patrols. He has blamed the continuing patrols on one of his former attorneys, who he says failed to properly explain the order.
Trump has not yet exercised his pardon power since taking office.