Former Maricopa County sheriff and current Republican candidate for senate in Arizona Joe Arpaio would like you to know that he didn’t know that he recently gave an interview to a publication that supports anti-Semitism — an outlet called American Free Press — and he doesn’t support that “view point.” The only thing is that it’s the fifth time Arpaio has given an interview to the weekly, and the sheriff has a history of anti-Semitism.
It was on Thursday afternoon that Arpaio tweeted that he was “unaware” American Free Press supports antisemitism, but it’s clear Arpaio has been familiar with the site, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) deemed a hate group in 2016.
It was brought to my attention I gave interview to publication that supports antisemitism; I was unaware and don't support that view point
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) February 1, 2018
Arpaio has given the publication five separate interviews in recent years, which has a history publishing glowing stories about Holocaust deniers. In 2014, Arpaio did an interview with Victor Thorn writing for American Free Press. In 2011, Thorn published a book called “Made in Israel: 9-11 and the Jewish Plot Against America.”
American Free Press has also written stories like on about Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel called “Meet The Man Who Invented The Holocaust.” The article has since been deleted from their site, but what remains isn’t any prettier. A story from early January is headlined “Jail for Hillary?” One from Wednesday is headlined, “Ending SPLC’s Reign of Terror: Christian Ministry Sues National Hatemonger,” and the story apparently with the most views in the last 24 hours is a story from 2015 headlined, “70,000 Whites Murdered in ‘Modern’ South Africa: Obama’s African Legacy.”
Despite all of that, Arpaio has continually given interviews to the publication, and it isn’t as if no one noticed until now. After he was pardoned by President Trump last August, Arpaio chose to break his silence in an interview with American Free Press — which was headlined, “Arpaio Bypasses the Fake Media” — and a number of outlets wrote about his choice to give an interview to, as Mediate put it, an “anti-Semitic blog.”
Phoenix New Times noted the same when Arpaio spoke to Thorn in 2014, proclaiming, “Joe Arpaio Interviewed by Holocaust-Denier for Anti-Semitic Publication.”
On Thursday, when The Arizona Republic questioned Arpaio’s decision to speak to American Free Press again, Arpaio declined to criticize the outlet, saying, “I’m not going to criticize the news media like you. I can’t believe another news outlet is criticizing a newspaper.”
“I talk to all media, so what am I supposed to do? Investigate every media outlet to see what stories they write?” Arpaio said. “I don’t do that. You know that, I talk to all reporters, all publications.”
At any rate, Arpaio has publicly made anti-Semitic comments in the past, in American Free Press and elsewhere. In a 2016 interview, Arpaio blamed Jewish investor George Soros, a favorite target of anti-Semites, for his reelection loss that year. American Free Press calls Soros “arguably the most malicious elitist of our time” and Arpaio says Soros’ involvement in the race became clear “when there’s 30 days to go, with early voting, and [Soros] pumps in $3 million to get rid of me, and I’m the only sheriff he’s ever gone after.”
Arpaio also made anti-Semitic comments in an interview with Politico during a discussion about Israel.
“Now, the only Jewish guy that the mob hired is Meyer Lansky,” Arpaio said. “I don’t know how he sneaked in there, but he knew how to count the money.”
Most notably, perhaps, is that Arpaio has called his own jail a “concentration camp.” In 2008, a journalist caught Arpaio on camera at the Arizona American Italian Club in Phoenix calling his Tent City jail as much.
“I already have a concentration camp,” he says in the video reviewed by Phoenix New Times. He then turns to Andrew Thomas, who was at the time the Maricopa County attorney, saying, “Andy, you gonna cover me on this, too? It’s called Tent City.”
Arpaio is currently running to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is retiring at the end of his term. Arpaio, now 85, faces Kelli Ward, who is backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ). The most recent polling has McSally at 31 percent, Arpaio at 29, and Ward at 25.