Newly announced Arizona sheriff candidate Joe Arpaio recently said during an interview with American Free Press that he reads and loves the publication. American Free Press is an anti-Semitic outlet that has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the Holocaust is a “hoax.”
Arpaio announced on August 25 that he would again run for sheriff in Maricopa County, AZ. He lost the seat in 2016 and failed in a Republican primary for Senate in the state in 2018.
Arpaio has a long history of racism and bigotry since he was first elected Maricopa County sheriff in 1992, as The New York Times summarized:
In 2011, the Justice Department said Mr. Arpaio led an office with “a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos.”
A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Mr. Arpaio and his deputies violated the constitutional rights of Latinos.
Mr. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in July 2017 after he refused to stop detaining undocumented immigrants.
A month later, he was pardoned by Mr. Trump.
Unsurprisingly, Arpaio also has a history of cozying up to extremists. He has given interviews to and praised the anti-Semitic publication American Free Press, which has repeatedly posted blatantly false claims that the Holocaust is a “hoax” and other anti-Semitic content (the site scrubbed some of its posts about the Holocaust following Media Matters’ criticism).
Headlines on the site have included: “Audio Interview: Jewish Fingerprints All Over 9-11”; “Audio Interview: Holocaust Hoax Exposed”; and “Meet the Man [Elie Wiesel] Who Invented the ‘Holocaust.’” The site’s bookstore has sold The Holocaust Never Happened & The CIA Killed JFK, a book that claims to “destroy the hoax of the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazi Germany,” and another book that claims “the official narrative of the Holocaust cannot be sustained.”
The late Willis Carto, who The New York Times described as a far-right figure who “used lobbying and publishing to denigrate Jews and other minorities and galvanize the movement to deny the Holocaust,” helped found American Free Press.
Arpaio most recently spoke to American Free Press on May 8, when he praised President Donald Trump, pushed conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, and attacked the media for calling him racist. He also lauded the publication, saying: “I go through social media. I go through people like [American Free Press], your paper that has the guts to speak out. So, I have all the means to get my story across.” When the interviewer asked if he reads the publication, he responded: “Yeah, I love your paper.”
Arpaio has spoken to American Free Press over the years, including after he announced his failed Senate bid and received his presidential pardon. He has also declined to criticize American Free Press when given evidence of its extremism. For instance, HuffPost senior reporter Christopher Mathias reported in February 2018:
In an interview with HuffPost, Arpaio wouldn’t condemn American Free Press for saying that the murder of 6 million Jews and millions of other people never happened. And although he appeared to acknowledge that the Holocaust was a historical event, he said he wouldn’t comment on American Free Press or its articles claiming the Holocaust was a hoax.
Amid criticism of his interview in February 2018, Arpaio tweeted: “It was brought to my attention I gave interview to publication that supports antisemitism; I was unaware and don't support that view point.”