It is instructive to review some of the hundreds of pardons delivered by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when they were president. Many were granted to people whose resumes do not come close to the services rendered to the nation by Sheriff Arpaio.
President Obama issued 70 pardons during his two terms as president. He pardoned minor drug offenders, bank embezzlers, military deserters, and, according to the Chicago Tribune, a young sailor court-martialed and demoted for taking four pounds of butter from his Navy base in 1947.
Bill Clinton’s pardon list contained names of people who committed crimes a little more consequential, some even a little suspect. His most notorious pardon was granted to Marc Rich, a major donor to the Clinton campaign. The Rich pardon came during Clinton’s last hours in office and was condemned by leading Democrats.
For those with short memories, Rich was indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and making controversial oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. Rich, who fled to Switzerland when he was indicted, never returned to the U.S., and died there in 2013.
Clinton later said he regretted the Rich pardon. Without a hint of irony, he said, “It wasn’t worth the damage to my reputation.”
The president’s pardon of Arpaio is a far cry from those granted by Clinton and Obama. He was correct in sighting Arpaio’s age and service to the country among his reasons for granting it. His conviction had political overtones and it is perfectly fitting that the pardon addressed his conviction partially on a political level.
Arpaio reached the same conclusion when he tweeted: “Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama Justice Department.”
Writes for Tribune News Service.