Arpaio shared his thoughts and memories from over 24 years as the Maricopa County Sheriff and decades of law enforcement service before that. This was his first speaking engagement in Arizona since last November.
As he spoke, Arpaio returned to the same theme over and over, “If they can do what they did to me, they can do it to you.”
Arpaio spoke of the charges filed against him, pointing out that after eight years of investigation by the Obama administration, all they could find to charge him with with was a misdemeanor. “It’s the same penalty if you have a barking dog. The cops come and warn you, ‘Don’t do it again,’ if the dog barks again,“ he said, slapping the podium, “Bang, they give you a summons, that says, misdemeanor, $500 fine or six months in jail. That’s what I'm facing. But my dog doesn’t bark.”
"I didn’t do anything wrong so I'm not going to admit it,” he said.
"I still have a couple of hurdles to go over yet if I don't want to surrender,” Arpaio continued. "And I'm not going to surrender.”
Loud applause broke out in support of that statement. “Never surrender,” someone in the room shouted.
"I’m going to be speaking up,” Arpaio promised. “Maybe I can do something to show the corruption we have in the federal courts. Believe me, Trump is right… We’re in deep trouble, and it all has to do with politics… You’ve got to fight back.”
Arpaio lamented the fact that he is known as a racist. “I love foreign people,” he said, sharing some of his experiences while working in Mexico.
Two hundred officers were hired that had a green card when he was the Maricopa County Sheriff, Arpaio claimed. “They weren’t US citizens, but they were here legally. A lot of them became US citizens. They’re good workers.” He pointed to the fact that 35% of his officers were Hispanic while he was Sheriff. Now his signature Tent City has been dismantled and his Posse of volunteers may be disbanded.
After being the Sheriff of Maricopa County for 24 years, Arpaio lost his re-election bid to Paul Penzone, a Democrat. Arpaio maintained that George Soros contributed $4 million to Penzone’s campaign, and still has influence in the decisions Penzone is making. “He’s [Soros] running the Sheriff’s office now,” Arpaio claimed. Noting that he only lost by 10% to Penzone, he looks at the large contribution from Soros as a kind of backhanded compliment.
“We have surrendered to the demonstrators… I love demonstrators. Now everyone’s afraid of the demonstrators… We’re going to bend down to the demonstrators?” Arpaio asked.
“I never asked him [President Trump] for anything. I never asked him for a pardon,” Arpaio continued. "I’m an old-fashioned guy. If you have a boss, I think you should support that boss. If you can’t, go get another job,” he said.
"What they did to me, they’re trying to do to him [President Trump] right now,” Arpaio said, returning to this theme.
In the middle of Arpaio’s discussion his phone rang. Somehow it seems appropriate that his ringtone is a clip from Frank Sinatra’s classic song, “I did it my way.”
Representatives Noel Campbell and David Stringer were on hand to hear Sheriff Joe.