Notorious Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing increasing fire over his office’s failure to adequately investigate hundreds of sex crimes, including dozens of alleged child molestations. Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has previously gone easy on the sheriff, joined the critics. While he stopped short of calling for Apraio’s resignation, in an interview with 3TV news in Phoenix, McCain said he was “outraged” and “astonished that there hasn’t been more outcry about the failure of these investigations.” Watch it:
This week, in separate moves, local Latino and black leaders called on Arpaio to resign. A Change.org petition for his resignation had received more than 19,000 signatures as of this publishing (sign it here), just two weeks after it was created.
McCain put out a statement earlier this month taking a much more circumspect stance, saying he was merely “concerned” with the report on the sex crimes, so today’s comments suggest the political winds may be turning against Arpaio.
The sheriff, who has made a dubious name for himself as “America’s toughest sheriff” for his hardline stance on undocumented immigrants, is also facing significant heat over a Department of Justice investigation, the results of which were released earlier this month, alleging that his department has systematically violated civil rights laws.
Nonetheless, presidential hopeful Rick Perry held a campaign event with Arpaio this week in Iowa. Perry has dodged most questions on the Department of Justice investigation or the sex crimes allegations, but a spokesperson told TPM, “Governor Perry knows Sheriff Arpaio as a dedicated law enforcement professional fighting to keep his neighbors safe in the wake of federal failures to secure the border and deal with border crime,” he added.