It's Sheriff Joe's party, and he'll cry if he wants to.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 78th birthday was "ruined" over the weekend after he received word he would no longer be the keynote speaker at a convention for guide dog users that's to be held in Phoenix this July.
The National Convention for Guide Dog Users gave Joe the boot late last week, and America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" isn't taking it well.
"The decision to boycott me from this national convention has ruined by birthday," Arpaio pouts on his Twitter page.
Not to worry, Joe, we got a whambulance on standby.
The convention's president Becky Barnes, according to Arpaio's office, gave no reason for giving the sheriff the boot, but Arpaio says he has "a feeling" he knows why.
"I suspected the reason had to do with my illegal immigration policies, and it turns out I was correct," Arpaio says in a statement released this morning. "This group says it isn't involved in politics. Well clearly they are. The local group, Arizona Council of the Blind, petitioned the National Board to have me removed, and for what, because they don't want me to enforce Arizona's immigration laws? They are out of step with our citizenry, shame on them."
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We called the ACB to see if the local group was behind Joe's dismissal, but our call was no immediately returned.
Arpaio is under the impression that his absence from the convention will lead to poor attendance because he claims he's been told by directors of the conference that many of those attending only planned to come because he would be giving the keynote speech.
"We stand to lose a lot of support because of this," Arpaio claims "apologetic" convention officials told him in a phone call made to the sheriff late last week.
We left a message for Becky Barnes, the convention's president, to see if she would confirm any of Joe's attendance claims, but she hasn't gotten back to us yet.