Sheriff Arpaio to speak at Republican National Convention
Arpaio will address fellow Republicans near an elephant enclosure in Tampa.
By EMILY DERUY
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will speak at an invitation-only event for western states at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa.
The controversial sheriff — he has been widely accused of racial profiling — will speak at a reception on August 30, according to a statement by Tom Morrissey, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.
“Sheriff Joe is a good friend and a great Republican,” read the statement, “and he’s wildly popular not just in Maricopa County but throughout the state and the country.”
The announcement will not please immigration activists, and some have already said they will protest the sheriff’s participation in the convention.
Arpaio, who is currently awaiting judgement in a racial profiling trial, has been accused of targeting Latinos and subjecting them to unlawful searches and seizures during immigration sweeps over the past several years.
The Republican party is struggling to gain the support of Latino voters who feel disenfranchised by the party’s stance on immigration. Romney was lambasted earlier this year for suggesting that people “self-deport,” and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was recently forced to admit that immigration hardliner Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, is still an adviser. Kobach has successfully pushed the party toward a harsher stance on illegal immigration.
The location of the reception is somewhat comical. Arpaio will speak near an elephant enclosure at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. An elephant is the symbol of the Republican party while Democrats are represented by a donkey.
(Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore)