Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who officially entered the presidential race this week, said Thursday that, if elected, he would consider pardoning those involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. , possibly including his rival for the Republican Party. nomination, former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis has consistently ranked second to Trump in national polls and has tried to draw a contrast to the former president while being reluctant to openly attack him. In an appearance on «The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,» a conservative radio show, DeSantis said that on «Day One» of his presidency he would have his staff look into the cases of rioters, pro-life protesters and parents of January 6th. arrested for their actions at school board meetings, and would be «aggressive» in granting pardons.
“We will use the power of forgiveness, and I will do it from the beginning,” DeSantis said, claiming that the Justice Department and the FBI had been “weaponized” to unequally punish people from “disadvantaged groups.”
Asked if he would consider pardoning Trump if he were charged with federal crimes, DeSantis responded that «any instance of unfavorable treatment based on politics or the use of weapons would be included in that review, no matter how small or large.»
A Trump campaign spokesperson did not specifically respond to a request for comment on DeSantis’ comments. Instead, campaign spokesman Steven Cheung pointed to an NBC News report that DeSantis administration officials solicited campaign contributions from Florida lobbyists, a violation of traditional norms that raises ethical and legal questions, and they called the governor of Florida «the 2024 version of Crooked Hillary.»
DeSantis’ office did not return a request for comment on the campaign requests.
On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. The siege and its aftermath led to the death of five people and the injury of some 140 members of the security forces. More than 1,000 people involved in the attack have been arrested, with more than 480 convicted. Hundreds of additional January 6 rioters have been identified but have yet to be charged.
Throughout his candidacy, Trump has praised rioters, many of them convicted of violent crimes. Earlier this month, Trump said he would pardon a «large portion» of people convicted of federal crimes for their role in the riots.
«I’m inclined to forgive a lot of them,» Trump said at a CNN-hosted town hall at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. «I can’t say for every one, because a couple of them probably got out of hand.»
A special prosecutor is investigating Trump for his actions related to the January 6 attack, though no charges have been announced. In March, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump with falsifying business records surrounding hush money given at the end of his 2016 campaign to a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair, which the prosecutor said district of Manhattan, violated state law and exceeded the limit. federal campaign contribution cap. Trump has repeatedly denied the affair and has pleaded not guilty to the Manhattan district attorney’s charges.
Earlier this month, Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil lawsuit, which is not subject to a presidential pardon. — a constitutional power that applies only to federal crimes.
Still, some Republican candidates have publicly vowed to pardon Trump if they are elected president. Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy promised to pardon Trump on his first day in office if elected president. Republican candidate Perry Johnson said the same.