Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who wrote a column for TIME last week, interviewed controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio last weekend. Standing against the backdrop of Maricopa County’s infamous outdoor Tent City jail, Arpaio claimed he is not anti-immigrant and that the Justice Department’s three-year investigation into his “discriminatory bias against Latinos” is just “their opinion.” When Ramos explained that many Latinos see Arpaio as the face of racism and discrimination, the sheriff made this defiant assertion: “I’ve never had any problems with a Latino. They love me.” Ramos replied, “They don’t. They don’t. They don’t, Sheriff Arpaio.”
It was a first-rate interview. Ramos had Arpaio explain why every GOP presidential candidate wants his endorsement — “I’m not tall, dark and handsome, so there must be a reason that they’re asking me to support them.” Arpaio even discussed his plan to release his findings about President Obama’s birth certificate on March 1, thanks to his “cold-case posse” of volunteer ex-cops and lawyers. And the finale was a moment to behold:
JR: We’ve spoken twice, and I still can’t understand why you keep on talking to us. Are you — why are you doing this? As you know, many people in the Hispanic community, many immigrants, simply hate you. Why do you insist on talking to us?
JA: Well, I don’t –
JR: What’s your agenda? What do you want to achieve by talking to us? I really appreciate it as a journalist, but why are you doing it?
JA: Because — because you called me. I didn’t call you, and you are a fair, well-known reporter, well respected. So why — what do you think, I’m afraid to talk to you? I’m not afraid to talk to you or anybody else. I talk to everybody. I’m an equal-opportunity guy. I don’t back down for the media or anybody else.
Arpaio has no qualms about talking to Ramos about his hard-line views on immigration, Republican presidential candidates’ paying him homage or Obama’s birth certificate. But the wide dissemination of such views on networks like Univision will only push Latinos to come out against the GOP in droves this fall — whether Arpaio thinks Latinos love him or not.