House Speaker Paul Ryan is breaking with President Trump over the latter's decision to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday.
"The speaker does not agree with the decision," said spokesman Doug Andres. "Law-enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon."
Ryan becomes the highest-ranking GOP lawmaker to break with Trump over the decision to pardon Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to stop detaining Latinos on suspicion of being illegal immigrants.
The decision was announced Friday and has been roundly criticized by Democrats and some Republicans, including both Arizona senators.
Arpaio was a political surrogate for Trump on the campaign trail and it was widely believed Trump would announce his pardon during a rally in Phoenix Tuesday night.
While Trump demurred at the idea of announcing the pardon then — he said he didn't want to create controversy — the decision was eventually announced as Hurricane Harvey bore down on the southeastern Texas coast Friday night.
It's Trump's first pardon and it's one of the earliest first pardons for a president in modern administrations.