Sen. John McCain criticized President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday, saying that it "undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law."
"No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold," McCain said in a statement hours after the White House announced the pardon for Arpaio.
Last month, Arpaio was found in criminal contempt of court for not following a different judge's orders to stop traffic patrols that targeted illegal immigrants due to a record of discriminating against Latinos. Arpaio was found in civil contempt of court in May. Arpaio was an ardent supporter of Trump's during the campaign.
"Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge's orders," McCain said. "The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions."
During the 2016 campaign, Trump had dubbed himself the "law and order candidate" and has since positioned himself as a staunch advocate of law enforcement.
McCain joins his fellow GOP senator Jeff Flake, who expressed his dismay with Trump's decision in a tweet.
"Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course," Flake said in a tweet.
Trump rallied in Phoenix earlier in the week, where he teased a coming Arpaio pardon and took shots at McCain and Flake without saying their names.