Ron DeSantis floats pardon for Donald Trump

 May 29, 2023

Ron DeSantis (R) has made a surprising campaign promise: if elected president, he will consider pardoning current primary rival Donald Trump.

The pledge could be interpreted as a dig at Trump, who is facing multiple criminal investigations that most Republicans view as politically motivated.

DeSantis, who launched his campaign last week, made the comments on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show. 

Trump pardon?

The governor said he would take steps to stop the "weaponization" of the justice system by ordering a sweeping review on day one of his term. He said he would pursue the matter "aggressively" but with caution, on a "case-by-case" basis.

“We’re going to find examples where the government’s been weaponized against disfavored groups, and we will apply relief as appropriate, but it will be done on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

DeSantis hinted the review would include his current rival.

"I would say any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big," he added.

Weaponization of government

DeSantis also said he would look at pardoning January 6th defendants.

“On day one, I will have folks that will get together and look at all these cases, who people are victims of weaponization or political targeting," he said.

Trump caused a frenzy last month when he described January 6th as a "beautiful day" and floated pardons for Capitol protesters during his CNN town hall. He described the police officer who killed protester Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt as a "thug."

The DOJ has pursued more than 1,000 defendants in its January 6th probe, which is the largest and most complex in the department's history.

Election interference

Trump's trial in the Stormy Daniels "hush money" case is scheduled for next March, right in the middle of primary season. He is also facing probes in Georgia and Washington D.C. relating to the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents, respectively.

Trump, who is the early favorite for the Republican nomination, has blasted the probes as a form of election meddling aimed at dragging down his campaign.

DeSantis saw some backlash in March when he initially responded to rumors of Trump's arrest in Manhattan by taking a swipe at his rival.

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