“Actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally.”

President Donald Trump on the Timing of His Pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Joint News Conference with Finnish President

August 28, 2017

(This article was originally scheduled to be published in late August but was delayed due to Hurricane Irma)

Satirical Press International (SPI)— Last Friday night, while the Texas coast braced for the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, a powerful Category 4 storm, Americans were captivated by constant news coverage on every network. In a break from his intense channel surfing of news, President Trump sat down with Satirical Press International’s entertainment reporter and host of hit new show, The American Selfie, Kate Kelley, in the Oval Office.

Kelley: President Trump, thank you for talking to me tonight.

Trump: It’s my pleasure, Kate. Melania’s not here, and it’s too dark for golf right now. Let me turn down the TV.

Kelley: President Trump, when you’re in the White House alone on a weekend, what do you like to do?

Trump: I stay very current on the news and watch several networks—Fox News and some others, which quite frankly are fake news, believe me.

Kelley: What about tonight?

Trump: The Fake News is at it again—everything is about Hurricane Harvey—I mean everything. Sad!

Kelley: Sad because Harvey is a powerful Category 4 hurricane about to make landfall in Texas?

Trump: We have other storms, you know, that I can tell you, and many, many other serious things happening in America right now, like transgenders in the military. But the Fake News is fixated on this storm, believe me.

Kelley: So you don’t appreciate the Harvey coverage?

Trump: Completely overdone by the liberal media—and they’ll probably blame it on climate change, that I can tell you. Do you know the Maine mountains are supposed to have frost tonight? In August! Some global warming.

Kelley: President Trump, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re a bit jealous of Hurricane Harvey.

Trump: Nonsense! It’s the media.

Kelley: Got a little case of Ratings Envy?

Trump: I just don’t see why the media goes on nonstop about this storm, that’s all.

Kelley: I guess you’ll just have to ride out the storm, Mr. President.

Trump: That’s where you’re wrong, Ms. Kelley. I have done more in seven months than any President in history, and I won’t sit still for a blowhard like Harvey.

Kelley: What do you plan to do?

Trump: Trump Harvey’s ratings, so to speak.

Kelley: How?

Trump: I’m going to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio right now and announce it to the media. Then we’ll see.

Kelley: Right now?

Trump: Does Phoenix border Mexico? Yes, right now. Gotta pen?


Background for Foreign Readers

Joe Arpaio is a famous sheriff in a large county of Arizona. An elected official for years, Sheriff Joe gained fame in the U.S. for taking a very hard stand against Latino immigrants, even though his county does not border Mexico and immigration law enforcement is a federal (national) responsibility. Because of this, he’s become a hero for many Republicans and the far right. Recently, federal courts ruled that Sheriff Joe’s actions toward Latino’s, such as traffic stops based on their ‘looks’, violated the U.S. Constitution. Sheriff Joe refused to obey the courts and was arrested for contempt of court (violating a court order).

Despite his arrest for actions violating the U.S. Constitution, President Trump has held out Sheriff Joe as a hero and pardoned him under the U.S. President’s pardon power on a Friday night when Hurricane Harvey was posing a very serious threat to Texas. Remarkably, President Trump admitted in a news conference with the Finnish President that he chose to pardon Sheriff Joe during the height of Hurricane Harvey coverage, not to hide it but to get more attention.