Biden campaign highlights Trump’s Arpaio kiss

President Biden’s reelection campaign launched a quick response digital ad Saturday that features former President Trump kissing former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on stage.

The kiss came at a rally Thursday where the former president brought out the 91-year-old Arpaio onstage, hugged him and blew an air kiss in the vicinity of the former law enforcement officer’s right ear.

“I don’t kiss men, but I kissed him,” Trump told the crowd at the Dream City Church in Phoenix, a church that advocates marriage as “between a male and a female.”

The new Biden ad ends on Trump’s kissing remarks, leading up to that moment with news coverage about Arpaio’s most controversial actions as sheriff in a 30-second supercut sharing a split screen with a loop of the onstage kiss.

The digital ad is set to target Latino voters in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Arpaio gained notoriety as a bogeyman for immigrant communities, with aggressive immigration enforcement policies that included construction of an open-air prison “tent city” that the sheriff himself likened to a “concentration camp” in 2008.

In 2011, the Justice Department (DOJ) found that Arpaio had engaged in the worst pattern of racial profiling by law enforcement in U.S. history.

That determination was based on a series of police actions in Maricopa County, from deputies pulling over Latino-operated cars at a much higher rate, to a refusal by jail guards to accept written requests written by inmates in Spanish.

The DOJ report was presented by then-Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez, now a senior advisor to Biden.

In 2012 the DOJ filed a lawsuit against Arpaio “to stop discriminatory and unconstitutional law enforcement practices” after he failed to comply with the recommendations in the report.

Trump ultimately pardoned him in 2017 for the accusations.

The two have been aligned on their approach to immigration enforcement, but also in their quest to prove that former President Obama was not born in Hawaii.

Trump in 2011 began questioning Obama’s birthplace in TV interviews, promoting a false claim that Arpaio pushed for years, including by publicly claiming that Obama’s birth certificate was false.

While Arpaio is popular with Trump’s base, the Biden campaign is looking to spotlight the ongoing relationship between Trump and the former sheriff, who is deeply unpopular among Latinos.

“You are the company you keep, and Trump has made his bed with the most racist, anti-Latino people our country has seen in modern history,” Biden-Harris Hispanic Media Director Maca Casado released the following statement. “Palling around with the guy who illegally rounded up and abused Mexicans and Latinos every chance he got should surprise no one — Trump has made attacking and vilifying Latinos his political brand.”

“If Trump thinks he can kiss the ring of this criminal and get away with it, he has a whole other thing coming for him. Trump doesn’t know our community’s political power,” Casado added. “Together, Latinos will prove him wrong by making him a loser once again this November.”

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