Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio reminded everyone why he’s considered “America’s toughest sheriff” when he took a Fox News anchor to task in a live interview this afternoon.
Appearing on “America Live” with Megyn Kelly, Arpaio told Kelly she was wrong in some of her reporting about a federal investigation into his treatment of Hispanics in Maricopa County, Ariz.
The U.S. Justice Department is looking into allegations of racial profiling, a charge Arpaio denies, and the federal government wants Arpaio to allow an independent monitor to oversee the conduct of his office.
The Obama administration announced it’s now preparing to sue Arpaio. The Justice Department has said negotiations have broken down with the sheriff, who also believes President Obama’s birth certificate and Selective Service card are likely forgeries.
Though Kelly never mentioned concerns over Obama’s eligibility in her interview, she did ask Arpaio why it would be a deal-breaker to have a federal monitor in his presence to make sure everything in his county office were “legit.”
“First of all, I’m the elected, constitutional, legitimate sheriff,” Arpaio said.
“I report to 4 million people in this county, and I’m not going to be controlled by the federal government because they don’t like the way I enforce the illegal-immigration laws. And it’s really interesting they’re cracking down right now. I presume we’re in an election year. You know this started three and a half years ago, 100 days after Obama took office, they went after me. I’m their poster boy.”
“But it started in 2008 under President Bush – the investigation,” Kelly interrupted.
“It did not. It started 100 days under Obama,” Arpaio responded.
“There is a former mayor that made a complaint to the Justice Department, but it was the Obama administration that started the investigation. So they can give all the hype they want for political reasons. But I tried to negotiate. I spent 50 years in law enforcement, many years as a top law-enforcement official with the Department of Justice, so I would like to get this over with.”
“They want to take me to court to send a message,” he added.
Kelly then stated, “They (federal officials) seem to be suggesting the thing that is making the negotiations breakdown is your – this is their characterization – your sudden objection having this independent monitor, something that you hadn’t objected to before, so they think it’s you who’s making the conflict come to a head right now.”
“That is garbage. That is garbage,” Arpaio said angrily. “I publicly said in the past I will never give in to a control by the federal government. That is false, which many other statements they make are false. That is not true.”
When asked where he thought the case would end up, the sheriff responded, “I don’t know. If we go to court, that’s great. Then we’ll see the true story come out. Quite frankly, I don’t think they want to go to court. They don’t have the evidence, so we’ll see.”