Defending his act to pardon former Arizona lawman and political ally Joe Arpaio on August 25, U.S. President Donald Trump insisted that the timing was intended to divert public's attention from Hurricane Harvey.
"I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally," he said while addressing a press briefing here.
Defending himself, Trump said that the Arizona lawman had been treated 'unfairly'.
"I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly," Trump said.
He further said that Sheriff Joe is a great veteran of the military, a great law enforcement person and added, "A lot of people think pardoning Joe Arpaio was the right thing to do."
Many United States lawmakers have criticised President Trump for pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a frequent Trump critic, tweeted that Trump had pardoned a government official "who ignored [the] Bill of Rights."
"Arpaio was convicted of defying court order to stop violating #4thAmendment. It's a pardon of a govt official who ignored Bill of Rights," Amash tweeted.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has recently sparked a backlash from Trump, also criticized Trump.
"I would have preferred that the President honour the judicial process and let it take its course," Flake wrote on Twitter.
"Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honour the judicial process and let it take its course," tweeted Flake.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted that Trump's pardon "makes a mockery of rule of law," while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed the decision to issue the pardon as a major storm barreled toward Texas.
Fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain tweeted, "@POTUS's pardon of Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos, undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law."
Trump has granted a pardon to controversial former Arizona lawman and political ally Joe Arpaio, less than a month after he was convicted of criminal contempt in a case involving racial profiling.
A White House statement announcing Arpaio's pardon said, "Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration."
Arpaio, 85, lost a bid for re-election in Arizona's Maricopa County in November after 24 years in office.