For his first TV appearance since launching his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Joe Arpaio went on Fox & Friends.
His recent conviction never came up.
Arpaio — a 85-year-old former sheriff whose conviction for contempt of court in a racial profiling case was pardoned by President Trump last August — was asked four questions by host Steve Doocy during the course of the interview. None of them had to do with his long history of civil rights abuses, failure to investigate sex abuse cases, or decades of discriminating against Arizona’s Latinx community. The closest Doocy got to mentioning Arpaio’s checkered past was when he introduced him as “known for being tough on immigration.”
Instead, Arpaio faced a series of softballs. Doocy opened by asking him, “At 85, why do you want to do this?” and closed by giving him an opportunity to respond to Flake, who made clear during a CNN interview on Tuesday that he doesn’t support Arpaio and thinks his candidacy is “not our best foot forward as Republicans.”
Doocy was eager to help cast Arpaio as an acolyte of Trump, who receives almost nothing but fawning coverage on Fox & Friends, a show he regularly live-tweets. After asking Arpaio what part of his experience as sheriff “would be most helpful in the U.S. Senate,” Doocy followed up by inquiring if he wants to “drain the swamp” like Trump.
“Do you think you would be using that experience — it would be helpful to drain the swamp? Because ultimately, during the commercial you said Donald Trump was a heroic figure to you, and he wants to drain the swamp — if you were in the Senate would you do that as well?”
“Oh, I would have a lot of fun,” Arpaio replied.
Doocy ended the segment by mistakenly calling Arpaio “Senator Joe Arpaio” and wishing him good luck.
Polling released on Tuesday by ABC15 TV in Phoenix shows Arpaio “skyrocketing to the top of the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate in Arizona,” with a hypothetical Trump endorsement bumping his support even higher.