Trump Slams Obama Over "Pardon" for Chelsea Manning After Excusing Joe Arpaio

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Phoenix on August 22. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Donald Trump has retweeted a message criticizing former president Barack Obama for “pardoning” a “traitor” just days after facing a backlash over his own pardoning of controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The president shared a tweet from Fox News journalist Katie Pavlich, who incorrectly suggested Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning during an online debate with Obama’s former National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes over Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio.

Obama in fact commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence, meaning her prison sentence was cut short but the conviction stands, whereas a pardon is usually granted for people based on good conduct and removes civil penalties associated with that person—meaning they have the right to vote.

Rhodes had written: “Obama used his pardon and commutation power to give a second chance to people who deserved empathy, not racists who showed none.”

To which Pavlich replied: “Your boss pardoned a traitor who gave U.S. enemies state secrets, he also pardoned a terrorist who killed Americans. Spare us the lecture,” in a tweet that was then shared by the president.

The president has faced criticism for his decision to pardon Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a ruling on his use of racial profiling, prompting an outcry from civil rights groups.

During his time as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio came up with an open-air jail called "Tent City," in which inmates had limited food rations, and he reintroduced the use of chain gangs, allegedly stating during an appearance at the Arizona American Italian Club in Phoenix: "I already have a concentration camp, it's called Tent City."

In addition, his office was accused of failing to investigate sex crimes and the county jail he presided over had extremely high suicide rates, with 24 percent of the 157 people who died there logged as having taken their own lives.