DeSantis hints he could pardon TRUMP for January 6 if elected president
On the first day since formally announcing his presidential campaign, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signaled that he might pardon former President Donald Trump or the January 6 rioters.
He made the statement in a radio appearance on the Clay and Buck show hosted by Clay Travis and Buck Sexton — after being specifically asked if he thought the January 6 defendants “deserve to have their case investigated by a Republican president.”
He was also specifically asked about former President Trump – the main rival who has ridiculed him since his troubled announcement – “is charged with federal wrongdoings” and whether he “will consider pardoning Trump himself” based on the evidence that could emerge.
Rather than rule out any of the possibilities, DeSantis, who is more than 30 points behind Trump in a new Fox News poll, spoke of an “armed” FBI.
Hours after former President Donald Trump mocked Ron DeSantis by saying “My red button is bigger, better, stronger and works” and yours “isn’t,” Florida’s governor said he would consider pardoning him and the January 6 defendants to be granted on ‘Day One’
“The DOJ and FBI are armed. We see that. We see it in different contexts, some of which you mentioned,” he replied.
He said he would assess individuals “on a case-by-case basis” but promised to deal with those who have been “treated unfavorably.”
DeSantis made the pledge just hours after Trump called him “unfaithful,” mocked his campaign launch as “DISASTER!”, called him “Rob” instead of “Ron,” and taunted him by saying, “My red button is bigger, better , stronger, and works (TRUTH!), yours does not!”
DeSantis, a lawyer who studied law at Harvard and served in the Navy’s JAG Corps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, took the question on a day when far-right Oath Keepers militant leader Stewart Rhodes was given an 18-year prison sentence after being convicted of seditious conspiracy. The phrase came up during their conversation.
DeSantis said it was unfair how the government selected people to prosecute. He said he would start his review on “Day One.”
Former President Donald Trump called DeSantis “unfaithful” and referred to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” The Florida governor indicated he could pardon Trump if he faces “political” federal charges
Part of it is the FBI going after parents, going to school board meetings. Part of it is how they treat a pro-life protester, how they don’t go after people who attack pro-life protesters. And so what I’m going to do is — I’m going to do on day one — I’m going to have people come together and look at all these things, people who are victims of guns or political targets, and we’re going to be aggressive in pardoning. Now, some of these cases, some people may have a technical violation of the law.”
He complained about the uneven application of justice and claimed that Black Lives Matter people “are not being prosecuted at all.”
“And so we’re going to find ways that that hasn’t happened. And then we’ll use the grace power – and I’ll do that at the front. You know, a lot of people wait until the end of the government to pardon. We will find examples where the government has been used against disadvantaged groups, and we will provide assistance where necessary. But it’s going to be case-by-case, because I think you have to make sure that… There’s a lot of cases that don’t necessarily make headlines. But when people are treated just because they don’t get on TV or something, they are treated unfavorably. They also need to be heard.’
Clay Travis confirmed that a Trump pardon was specifically on the table.
And that could be from a grandma who was arrested and prosecuted all the way to, possibly, Trump himself. Is that fair to say when you analyze what the charges might have been brought at the federal level?’ he said.
DeSantis responded, “I would say that any instance of adverse treatment based on politics or armaments would be included in that review, however small or large.”
Among the presidents who used the virtually unlimited clemency power late in their terms are Bill Clinton and Trump, who pardoned allies Roger Stone in the final weeks of his presidency, Steve Bannon, former RNC finance chairman Elliott Broidy, though he resisted pressure to issue a general pardon on January 6 ahead of the indictment.
Though hypothetical, the question of a Trump pardon could confront a future president.
He faces a possible charge in Special Counsel Jack Smiths’ Jan. 6 investigation and removal of White House documents, including classified material, to Mar-a-Lago, as well as a possible criminal charge in Georgia related to his attempts to overturn the elections.
Every case is different, but Trump did not fare well in a recent New York case where he was found guilty of sexually assaulting E. Jean Carroll decades ago.
No federal charges have been filed and Trump denies wrongdoing in what he calls a “witch hunt.”