Walter Shaub: Trump’s potential Arpaio pardon meant to 'reassure the white supremacists'

The former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has blasted President Trump for saying he is "seriously considering a pardon" for controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio who was recently convicted of criminal contempt of court after violating a court order to stop profiling suspected illegal immigrants.

Walter Shaub retweeted a report about Trump's potential move Monday with the comment, "Scrambling to reassure the white supremacists and nazis that he didn't really mean what he said to the 'normies' today..."

He was referring to remarks Trump had made earlier in the day condemning the recent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia; the president said, "Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to all that we hold dear as Americans."

The stronger tone was likely a response to backlash he had received after initially attributing the violence to "many sides."

Meanwhile, the president told Fox News that he was considering pardoning Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, because "He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He's a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him."

Arpaio's hardline approach is what led to his eventual conviction, with the New York Times explaining that his "criminal charge grew out of a lawsuit filed a decade ago charging that the sheriff's office regularly violated the rights of Latinos, stopping people based on racial profiling, detaining them based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally, and turning them over to the immigration authorities."