Sen. Romney shakes up DC by saying Biden should have pardoned Trump after he was criminally indicted

 May 18, 2024

It is no secret that retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is no fan of former President Donald Trump and is loathe to find himself in agreeance or speaking in defense of his bitter political enemy.

Yet, in a seemingly shocking statement during a recent interview, Romney asserted that President Joe Biden should have pardoned Trump when he was first criminally indicted last year, as the senator would have done if he were the president, according to the Washington Examiner.

That said, before anyone mistakes Romney's stance for some display of altruism, he later clarified that issuing such a pardon would positively benefit the pardoner, either Biden or himself, and reflect negatively on the recipient of the executive clemency, Trump.

Romney says he would have pardoned Trump

NBC News reported that Sen. Romney appeared on MSNBC's "11th Hour" program with host Stephanie Ruhle and suggested that President Biden "made an enormous error" by not pardoning former President Trump of the federal charges he faces and by not pressuring New York prosecutors to drop their criminal case against the Republican ex-president.

"He should have fought like crazy to keep this prosecution from going forward," Romney said of Biden, as the prosecutions created "a win-win for Donald Trump."

Romney was likely referring to the free publicity and boost to his poll numbers and campaign fundraising that Trump has received since he was first indicted last year, not to mention the bolstering of his narrative that he is a victim of politically motivated witch hunts that are supported, if not led by, the Biden administration.

"You may disagree with this, but had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought on indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him," the outgoing Utah senator and failed 2012 GOP nominee told Ruhle.

Romney then revealed his underlying motivation for his unexpected stance as he added, "I'd have pardoned President Trump. Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned a little guy."

Can a president pardon themself?

Of course, it seems highly unlikely that President Biden would follow Sen. Romney's advice and issue a pardon for former President Trump -- his 2020 nemesis and current opponent for a second term in the White House.

Thus, given the probability that Biden can't or won't pardon his political rival, an unsettled debate about an unprecedented legal question has emerged about whether Trump, if re-elected, could pardon himself.

According to Axios, there are legal experts and scholars on both sides of the issue who have made compelling arguments both for and against the idea.

Trump himself has seemingly found himself on either side of the debate, as the outlet noted that just last year the former president said it would be "very unlikely" that he would issue a pardon for himself if he were convicted of a crime but still managed to win re-election.

That said, Trump also suggested in an interview last year that he could have pardoned himself before leaving office "that would have saved me all of these lawyers and all of this -- these fake charges, these Biden indictments," and in 2018, while facing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian collusion probe, Trump asserted that he had "the absolute right" to pardon himself even as he insisted that he'd "done nothing wrong."

In the end, it looks like the only way this legal debate will ever be settled is if Trump wins re-election in November -- or, if the Supreme Court rules against Trump's claim of post-presidency immunity, Biden crosses that bridge first with a self-pardon on his way out of office to protect himself against potential GOP retribution.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.