Ingraham to Senate Candidate Sheriff Joe: ‘You’ll Be 91 After Your First Term Is Up’

Law enforcement hard-liner from Arizona defends comments on 'The Laura Ingraham Show' about being pro-Trump no matter what

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio” of Arizona — who became well-known over the past few years for his hard-line stance against illegal immigration in this country — announced Tuesday that he would run for the Senate seat that is being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake (who announced last year he would not seek re-election).

Arpaio, 85, served as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, for 24 years, from 1993 until 2016 — when he lost re-election to a Democrat.

On Wednesday the former law enforcement professional appeared on “The Laura Ingraham Show” to discuss his new candidacy.

The interview followed on the heels of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday meeting at the White House with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and members of his Cabinet — in which the president made remarks about DACA, amnesty, and immigration reform that almost immediately alarmed conservatives.

Among Trump’s other comments — as television cameras rolled for 45 minutes — were: “My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with … And what I approve is going to be very much reliant on what the people in this room come to me with,” he added. “I have great confidence in these people. If they come to me with things that I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it. Because I respect them.”

“The overwhelming majority of my listeners today are very worried, very concerned [about those remarks],” added Ingraham Wednesday on her morning program — given that the president now seems wide open to amnesty when he was dead-set against it during the campaign. Yes, he took “center stage” during the meeting, ran the room, brought the press in. But she asked Arpaio, who has “tangled with anti-enforcement people for decades,” what he thought of the president’s comments on Tuesday about immigration reform and what the future of this presidency might be if he — Trump — joins with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and others on these critical issues.

“First of all, I was busy on all the TV, radio [with his Senate candidacy announcement], so I didn’t keep up with the president’s” activities on Tuesday, said the former sheriff. “I didn’t tune in to the TV. I was busy doing my stuff and being a candidate for the U.S. Senate.”

“Being a candidate is being informed,” responded Ingraham, adding that this “is the issue you really care about.”

Related: Ingraham Warns Against Surrender on Dems’ ‘DACA Now, Wall Later’ Deal

She then played a clip of Trump’s remarks from Tuesday, as noted above.

“So what’s the problem with that? He’s a great negotiator,” responded Arpaio. “You get the people together and try to alleviate a problem. At least he’s talking about it [immigration fixes]. This has been going on for how many years — Congress would never look at it; they don’t have the guts to make a decision. So, finally, we got a president that’s forcing the Congress to do something about it. So he’s talking about it. He can’t make everybody happy, but let’s see what the results are.”

He also said he would welcome Trump’s endorsement of his candidacy, though he has not directly asked for it. “I’ve been with him since July of 2015. I just don’t flip now to get some votes, using the president. I’ve been with him from day one and I’ll be with him forever — so let’s make that clear.”

Trump pardoned Arpaio on Aug. 25, 2017, following his conviction for criminal contempt of court for defying a federal judge’s order that he stop detaining suspected illegal immigrants simply on suspicion about their status.

Ingraham pressed Arpaio on the immigration point from Tuesday: “So if [Trump] sells out the voters and goes for amnesty and comprehensive reform, with 700 miles of some type of fencing or wall, Sheriff Joe is all on board with that — is that right?”

“I have confidence in him,” he responded.

“Don’t you have confidence in your principles, Sheriff?” said Ingraham. “You’re the guy who was tough as nails on the border … Aren’t the principles here what matter, sir?”

“I have confidence in him trying to negotiate to get a solution to this. I am against amnesty. I believe in the wall mainly to keep the drugs out of our country, not just illegal immigrants … I’m not losing my principles … Doesn’t mean I have to agree with him all the time, but I support him.”

“We have friends and we support our friends, but we also intervene when our friends go off track,” said Ingraham, noting she will withhold judgment and will see how this plays out.

Ingraham pressed further: “So as a candidate for the Senate, you are OK with a partial wall, and amnesty for 800,000 people, perhaps an end to chain migration, perhaps not, and then comprehensive reform?”

She also noted Trump said this: “I do have people who are, to use a very common term, very far Right, and very far Left, and they’re very unhappy about what we’re doing, but I really don’t believe they have to be, because I really think this sells itself … If we do this properly — DACA —  you’re not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform … I’ll take the heat. I don’t care, I’ll take all the heat you want to give me. And I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.”

“At least he’s got the guts to take the heat,” responded Arpaio after he heard the clip of Trump’s remarks. “He doesn’t care where they’re coming from. He has to do what’s right for the country.”

Ingraham again pressed: “So as a candidate for the Senate, you are OK with a partial wall, and amnesty for 800,000 people, perhaps an end to chain migration, perhaps not — and then comprehensive reform?”

Arpaio said, “I never said that. Now you’re supporting my opponent. I have a lot of respect for you and your integrity. I hope you’re not trying to put me in a box because you’re supporting my opponent.”

Ingraham explained she has long supported Kelli Ward in the race, long before Arpaio ever announced his candidacy. He didn’t tell her about his candidacy, she said — and he responded that he had to make “a quick decision. I don’t like what’s going on with senators against the president.”

Ingraham reminded her listeners that she’s long had Sheriff Joe on her radio show, going back some 15 or 20 years — she might have been the first radio show hosts, or one of the first on radio and TV, to feature him.

The former sheriff noted he has not discussed his Senate candidacy with Trump. He said he will always “respect the president.” He added, “Everybody’s after him. That’s what makes me very angry, including [people from] his own party.”

He also told Ingraham he’s decided to run now for the Senate because he wants to “support the agenda and the policies of the president, because it does affect Arizona.” And his age doesn’t matter, he insisted — even if he’s in his early 90s by the end of his first term. “OK. So what? I might go another one [after that].”

(photo credit and homepage images: Joe Arpaio[1] and Joe Arpaio[2], CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)