Arpaio, along with Republican presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump, is a vocal member of the “birther” movement that claims Obama was born in Kenya. The notorious sheriff even dispatched certain members of his posse to spend months during the 2012 election cycle investigating whether a birth certificate showing that Obama was born in Hawaii was legitimate.
Tapper asked Arpaio why he would “risk his credibility” on the hot-button topic of illegal immigration by perpetuating the baseless rumor that the President was not born in the United States.
“I’m the chief law enforcement officer elected by the people. I have a right to investigate and speak out,” Arpaio countered. “I’m not talking about where he came from. I don’t care where he came from. We’re working on a fraudulent, forged, government document.”
Tapper pressed him on that point.
“Is there anyone — any credible law enforcement person outside of you, your organization and your contractors — who has any agreement with you on this?” he asked.
Arpaio responded that he was the only official brave enough to look into the issue. But when Tapper pressed the sheriff again as to the evidence he had to back up the theory that the President was not born in the United States, Arpaio demurred.
“I’m not going to get into all the technical details,” he said. “I have a Smith Corona typewriter. I don’t have a computer but I have people that look into it. I’ve been around a long time. I’m not stupid enough to even talk to you about it if I didn’t think there was a lot of smoke and fire there.”