So on Friday evening, we were quick to suggest that Donald Trump strategically timed his pardon of “Sheriff Joe” (a fun-sounding nickname that belies the fact that the man it refers to ran what he called a “concentration camp” for Hispanics only minus the Zyklon B) to coincide with Hurricane Harvey making landfall.
Presumably, Trump knew that if pardoning Joe already registered a 7/10 on the “controversial decisions” meter, the Charlottesville fiasco had surely pushed it up to a solid 9. But having promised to make it happen three days earlier at a rally in Phoenix, he was obliged to follow through. And so, the idea would be to squeeze it in while the media was squarely focused on a Cat 4.
Well, according to Trump, he was indeed thinking strategically about the timing of the pardon – only in the exact opposite way that everyone assumed.
Listen below as the President seems to say that he was actually attempting to piggyback on a devastating hurricane to boost the “ratings” for something that prior to Trump, no one would even think about in terms of ratings….
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2017
Now I guess, if you really wanted to, you could interpret that as Trump “proving” that he wasn’t trying to hide the pardon behind a hurricane.
But if that’s what he was trying to do then he chose the worst possible way to communicate it – he could, for instance, have just said this: “I wasn’t trying to hide it.”
Of course Trump could always give this another go. He could un-pardon Joe, wait for the next natural disaster, and then pardon him again.