White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio won't get a pardon during President Trump's rally in Arizona.
Sanders made the comments aboard Air Force One en route to Trump's campaign-style event.
"There will be no discussion of that today at any point, and no action will be taken on that front at any point today," she told reporters, addressing intense speculation.
Arpaio told the Washington Examiner "nothing changes" and that he remains hopeful for a pardon.
The 85-year-old former sheriff was convicted last month of criminal contempt for defying a court order against arresting suspected illegal immigrants unless they commit a state crime.
"I've been saying all along I support him no matter what," Arpaio said after Sanders' remarks.
Still, the ex-sheriff who faces a possible six months in prison had cause for hope. Trump said "I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio" in a recent Fox News interview.
"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," Trump said.
But Trump has previously teased pardons without delivering.
"I'm actually looking at it right now," Trump told Fox News in January about a potential pardon for former sailor Kristian Saucier, who was denied what his attorney called the "Clinton deal" for taking pictures deemed classified inside a submarine.
While campaigning, Trump used Saucier's one-year prison sentence as an example of someone prosecuted for doing "nothing by comparison" to Hillary Clinton, who used a private email server to send and receive classified information.
Today, Saucier is nearly finished his sentence without a commutation or pardon. He was refused a waiver from the Justice Department to apply for a pardon within fewer than five years of a criminal conviction.
"I no longer understand why he said what he said about me previously other than to gain some votes by using our family's misfortune for his own personal gain," Saucier said in a recent message from prison forwarded by his wife. "Honestly I hope he is not doing the same thing to Mr. Arpaio."
Arpaio told the Washington Examiner he thinks Trump simply scheduled the Arizona visit without thinking of the coincidence that his comments about a pardon would create.