“I believe the Presidential pardon of Joe Arpaio was a mistake,” Frelinghuysen wrote Thursday in his weekly message to constituents. “Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rulings of the court and this action undermines the rule of law.”
Last month the 12-term congressman, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, also knocked Trump’s “incomprehensible reaction” to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Frelinghuysen has been rapped by activists, who demonstrate weekly outside his Morristown office, for supporting Trump’s agenda, and for refusing to hold a town hall meeting. A number of candidates are lining up to challenge him for re-election next year.
Arpaio, 85, was convicted of criminal contempt for his tactics in cracking down on undocumented immigrants in Maricopa County, AZ. He had been scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 5 for ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case.
The former lawman is a “patriot [who] kept America Safe!” Trump tweeted last week in announcing the pardon, his first as president.
Civil rights groups condemned the move. The American Civil Liberties Union denounced it as “a presidential endorsement of racism.” Arizona’s Republican Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, also were critical of the pardon.