Trump 'demands' that his GOP 2024 rivals pledge to pardon him - report

 June 16, 2023

According to a new report from Rolling Stone, former President Donald Trump - following his indictment by the Biden administration - has demanded that his 2024 Republican rivals pledge to pardon him - "or else."

The "or else" part appears to specifically be directed at Trump's chief 2024 Republican rival - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

"It’s not an accident: In the days leading up to his arraignment, the former president worked the phones to vent about the case to his allies and discuss the way forward," Rolling Stone reports.

The outlet continues:

According to a person familiar with the matter and another source briefed on it, Trump had one repeated request for his supporters: go on TV and social media and trash Ron DeSantis for refusing to commit to pardoning Trump.


Thus far, some of Trump's 2024 Republican rivals have pledged to pardon him should they win the presidency and some have not, while others have not taken a side.

The most definitive pledge to pardon Trump has come from biotech executive Vivek Ramaswamy. He said, "This is my commitment, on Jan. 20, 2025, if I'm elected the next U.S. president — to pardon Donald J. Trump for these offenses in this federal case."

Others, such as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, have suggested that they would lean toward pardoning Trump, although they did not say anything definitive.

The most definitive statement against pardoning Trump has come from former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said that such a pardon would be a "misuse of the pardon power." Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has also come out against pardoning Trump.

Finally, there are those who have refused to say whether or not they would pardon Trump. And, this includes not only former Vice President Mike Pence but also, most notably, DeSantis - Trump's chief 2024 rival.

DeSantis's dilemma

Rolling Stone cites a "MAGA-aligned Republican strategist" as explaining the dilemma that this whole situation has put DeSantis in.

The strategist told the outlet:

If you’re Ron, you find yourself really in a really tough situation, because if you blast the DOJ and you blast Jack Smith [the special counsel who has indicted Trump] and [President Joe] Biden, you’re essentially defending Trump and admitting Trump was right. If you condemn him, there’s no lane for you running on that. And, then silence is an equally bad option because folks notice you not saying anything.

Thus far, DeSantis has chosen silence at least with regard to whether or not to pledge to pardon Trump.

DeSantis, though, has spoken out against the Biden administration's indictment of Trump - albeit indirectly.

In his latest statement on the matter, DeSantis said:

My mission is to bring accountability to politicized agencies like DOJ, FBI. We're going to excise the political bias. And we are going to end the weaponization of the federal government.

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