A federal appeals court is refusing to expunge former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpario’s contempt of court conviction, after the sheriff was granted a presidential pardon by President Trump.
Such a legal move is rare if not unprecedented for the recipient of a presidential pardon. Usually federal and state court systems dismiss the convictions of people granted presidential pardon.
Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court in 2017 for refusing to change the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department’s practices after a judge mandated that the agency cease immigration raids.
Three judges of the liberal San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court upheld a ruling from a lower circuit court refusing to expunge the legal record of Arpaio’s conviction. The move sets new legal precedent for a recipient of a presidential pardon.
Arpaio was a frequent target of Eric Holder and the Obama administration, often coming under intense DOJ scrutiny for the practices of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.
Arpaio ran for the United States Senate in 2018, coming in third in the Republican Primart behind Martha McSally and Kelli Ward. He’s now running for his old position as Maricopa County Sheriff once more at the ripe age of 87.
In any case, presidential pardons have traditionally resulted in dismissal of criminal convictions in federal and state courts. It’s hard to think of the 9th Circuit’s decision to maintain the conviction as anything more than a political slight to President Trump.
Rep. Paul Gosar, Steve King, and Michelle Malkin Among Speakers at America First Political Action Conference
Nick Fuentes and Vincent James also gave speeches at the conference Friday night.
The second annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) took place Friday night in Orlando, Florida, the same city where CPAC has been holding its own conference.
The speakers at AFPAC included political commentator Vincent James, reporter Jon Miller, bestselling author and columnist Michelle Malkin, former congressman Steve King, sitting congressman Rep. Paul Gosar, and political commentator and activist Nick Fuentes.
AFPAC is a conference specifically for the dissident wing of conservative politics known as the America First movement. The movement held its first political action conference last year in Washington DC as an invitation only event, but this year’s event opened to the public and sold tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.
After a brief introduction by Nick Fuentes, who organized the event through his newly established America First Foundation, Vincent James gave the first speech of the conference. James is the founder of the conservative news site The Red Elephants and produces video commentary on hot-button political issues. The theme of his speech was loyalty and betrayal, and so it focused not just on the Republican establishment’s behavior after the 2020 election, but also the establishment’s betrayal on a whole host of political, social, and cultural issues. They may talk a big game to win elections, but they never deliver in the clutch.
“Over the years the Republican Party has been pushed further and further left on all of the issues they were supposed to represent us on,” James said. “The Republican Party today is a party that wants the foreign policy of John Bolton, the immigration policy of Alex Nowrasteh, the trade policies of Paul Krugman, and the cultural policies of Rob Smith.”
Next up was Jon Miller, formerly of BlazeTV. Describing his confusion over how police cruisers seemed to be ushering his airplane on the tarmac after landing in Orlando, Miller lamented that it’s emblematic of the current state of the country, namely that American nationalists have to worry about soft totalitarian intimidation and crackdowns for their political beliefs.
He also blasted the Black Lives Matter movement and their globalist puppet masters for seeking to tear the fabric of America in the name of “racial justice.”
“What we are witnessing is the most successful effort to destroy America, our history, our culture. Our legends are being destroyed, our history is being demythologized, our icons are being demolished,” Miller said.
The evening’s third speaker was Michelle Malkin. Continuing the tradition of building her major political speeches on a work of poetry, Malkin on this occasion chose William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus.” Per usual she delivered a fiery speech that pulled no punches. She tore into globalist “conservatives” like Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, lobbyists and organizers of CPAC, and she ridiculed the recent attempts by the GOP establishment to coopt the term “America First.”
The real America First movement, Malkin said, is a “coalition of integrity” that will endure continued growing pains, dissent, and disloyalty. They have to “stick together like glue” and respond to adversity like Stoics. And if they do, she said, the America First movement will be “unconquerable.”
Following Malkin were the in-house congressmen: Steve King, former US representative from Iowa, and Paul Gosar, current US representative from Arizona. In his historically-themed speech, King said that the heritage of the Mosaic law, Greek philosophy, and Roman government combine to form a tripartite foundation of Western Civilization. He referred to early America as a petri dish of Christians who implicitly brought over from Europe this tripartite foundation.
But, King said, there is a broad effort underway to dismantle Western Civilization. In his criticism of the woke left and BLM, he asserted that the price for past injustices—namely slavery—has already been paid through the blood of the Civil War, hence the folly of race-based reparations and of thinking that there are still historical wrongs that need to be righted.
In his speech Rep. Paul Gosar mentioned how President Trump signed into law seven of his bills, making him one of the most effective members of Congress, and he credits his success to putting his constituents and his country first. He also stated that the US’ generous immigration system and accommodation of Big Tech have been abused and are no longer working in the interests of the American people. He believes the Republican Party can run and win on an America First agenda—and that it desperately needs to.
“The choice is clear: America First or American decline,” Gosar said.
Last but not least on the speaker list was Nick Fuentes. After receiving a standing ovation, he remarked that he prepared a seven-page speech but ultimately decided to scrap it and “talk from the heart,” just like he does on his aptly-titled show “America First.”
Fuentes said he was inspired by Trump’s use of the “America First” slogan in 2016 since it perfectly encapsulated the principles Trump was running on, hence the name of his show and the current political movement. Tearing into Conservative Inc., he said that there’s now a full-on national battle between the GOP establishment and authentic right-wing populists. But, he added, the establishment can and will prop up people pretending to be America First populists but who won’t govern like them. Fuentes called that a deeper and more insidious threat than outright hostility from the ruling class.
In order to properly be America First, one must define “America” before anything else, and Fuentes argued that America is a “particular people and a particular place, forged by shared experiences, descended from an English cultural framework, and influenced by European civilization.”
America is therefore also Christian in character. “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and this is one nation under that God,” he said, warning that if America loses its sense of common experience, its English and European influences, and its Christian faith, it will simply cease to be America.
So what it ultimately means to put America first is to put the American people and the American way of life first. “[America First] means the well-being and the interests and the good of flesh and blood American people in this place first. Every time, always, before everything else, and not one single exception,” Fuentes said.
All of the speeches from AFPAC II can be watched in their entirety below:
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