Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a masterful fundraiser during his political career.
Despite being out of office, he's continued asking donors for money, saying he has more legal fees, while the president is defending his decision last week to let the former sheriff off the hook for the guilty verdict in his criminal contempt trial.
Trump said at a Monday news conference that he's not alone, listing controversial pardons by presidents in the past to defend the pardon of Arpaio.
The president also defended the timing fo the pardon announcement, Friday night as a major hurricane was bearing down on southeast Texas, sure to overwhelm the news cycle.
"Even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally," he said.
Meanwhile, fundraising efforts for Arpaio have also gained new life. Political website The Daily Caller reported that just hours before the pardon was announced, the nonprofit National Center for Police Defense, which has been criticized in the past for a lack of transparency, sent out an email blast signed by Arpaio claiming he would need $1 million more for his legal defense fund, allegedly to keep the 85-year-old sheriff out of jail.
Immediately after his pardon, Arpaio began soliciting donations for what he calls his legal defense fund, intended in his words "to pay off legal fees in this fight."
Arizona political consultant Chip Scutari said is's usually buyer beware when donating to politicans for any fund.
"He's probably the biggest, most prolific fundraiser in recent Arizona history," Scutari said. "For Joe Arpaio, his followers, much like Donald Trump's, are very, very loyal. He probably has a small segment of the Republican voter base but they are blindly loyal to him and I think they just believe they know the money will go to the right cause."
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