WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is defending his decision to pardon Joe Arpaio, calling the former Arizona sheriff a “patriot” who loves his country.

Trump was asked about his controversial decision during a joint press conference with the president of Finland on Monday.

Trump says Arpaio did a “great job for the people of Arizona” but was treated “very unfairly” by the Obama administration.

“He’s done a great job for the people of Arizona. He is very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona,” said Trump. “I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him right before the election voting started.”

He’s also pointing to controversial pardons by previous presidents.

Trump adds that he stands by his pardon and says, “I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me.”

“Sheriff Joe is a patriot, Sheriff Joe loves our country, Sheriff Joe protected our borders, and Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration,” said Trump.

Arpaio faced a possible jail sentence due to a federal conviction stemming from his immigration patrols.

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