Barack Obama

Firebrand former sheriff Joe Arpaio renews ‘birther’ claim about Barack Obama to coincide with Senate bid

During Arpaio’s six-term tenure as Maricopa County sheriff, inmates were jailed in outdoor tents, forced to wear pink underwear and given only two meals a day

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 10:37pm

Disgraced sheriff Joe Arpaio, just one day after announcing his bid for Senate, doubled down on claims that former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is “phoney.”

In a Wednesday night interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN, Arpaio said there was “no doubt” Obama’s birth certificate is fake.

“We have the evidence,” he said. “I’m not going to go into all the details. It’s a phoney document.”

Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump in August after he was convicted of criminal contempt for intentionally defying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that racially profiled Latinos.

On Tuesday, Arpaio announced his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Jeff Flake, a vocal Trump critic who will not be seeking re-election.

Cuomo addressed Arpaio’s controversial six-term tenure as Maricopa County sheriff, during which inmates were jailed in outdoor tents, forced to wear pink underwear, and given only two meals a day.

We have the evidence. I’m not going to go into all the details. It’s a phoney document
Joe Arpaio

Cuomo, who asked whether America’s self-styled “toughest sheriff” had any regrets, honed in on Arpaio’s role in delegitimising Obama by claiming he was not born in the United States.

Arpaio said: “I started this because of a fake government document. I didn’t care where the president came from … We had the evidence, nobody will talk about or a look at it. Anytime you want to come down, we’ll be glad to show you the evidence.”

In another earlier interview Wednesday with WABC radio hosts Rita Cosby and Curtis Sliwa, Arpaio went so far as to say: “I want to get it to Congress so they can pass some type of law, regulation, that when somebody runs for president, you oughta check their background, so this won’t happen again.”

Trump famously fuelled the birther movement for years, and while he held a press conference in September 2016 to declare “President Obama was born in the United States,” he revived the conspiracy theory behind closed doors, according to a New York Times report in November.

The sheriff also maintained his innocence on CNN, claiming he was convicted by a “very biased” judge.

“Everybody in the courtroom knew I was not guilty,” he said. “It was predetermined that I would be found guilty of contempt of court.”

Arpaio, who says he is running for Senate to support President Trump, will be facing off against Kelli Ward, another pro-Trump candidate, in the Republican Party primary.

Trump posted a favourable tweet about Ward after she visited his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida around Christmas, but he has not formally backed her.