Among the top contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, only one candidate has explicitly stated their intention to pardon Donald Trump if they were to be elected.
Vivek Ramaswamy publicly declared his willingness to pardon Trump and went a step further by demanding that all other Republican candidates sign pledges committing to pardon the 45th president, or provide an explanation if they choose not to.
Chris Christie, who was previously a close ally of Trump but has since distanced himself, firmly stated that he would not grant a pardon.
While some other prominent candidates expressed a leaning towards considering a pardon, they also emphasized that it is premature to discuss pardoning Trump at this stage. They noted that Trump would only require a pardon if he were to face criminal conviction.
According to The Daily Wire’s report:
Last week Trump appeared in a federal courtroom in Miami and pleaded not guilty to 37 charges, including 31 alleged violations of the Espionage Act for “willful retention” of national defense information, as well as charges related to obstruction and making false statements.
During an interview last month on “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently second to Trump in GOP primary polls, said he plans to be “aggressive” with issuing pardons. When asked about Trump, he said, “any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big,” according to NBC News.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said the question of a pardon is a “premature” one when asked by “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd on NBC. “I don’t know why some of my competitors in the Republican primary presume [Trump] will be found guilty,” he added.
“Well I’m not going to deal with the hypotheticals, but I will say that every American is innocent until proven guilty,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
In a recent appearance on a Fox Nation podcast, former New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie indicated that he would not pardon Trump.
“I think it’s impossible to answer that right now and be fair. Remember, the pardon power is the power to say if you if somebody thinks someone’s been treated unfairly, if you think there’s not been a fair trial, you have to consider all those things,” he told host Brian Kilmeade.
“I can’t imagine if he gets a fair trial that I would pardon him,” Christie said. “I can’t imagine that I would remember. The other problem: to accept a pardon, you have to admit your guilt. To accept a pardon, you have to say, ‘yes, I was wrong and I, and I accept the pardon.’ I can’t imagine Donald Trump would ever do that.”
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Former Arkansas GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson, who called on Trump to drop out of the 2024 race after the federal indictment came out, rejected the idea of discussing pardons while running for the White House.
“That’s a misuse of the pardon power and should have no place in a campaign or a serious discussion of the office of president,” Hutchinson told Scripps News’ “Morning Rush.”
Former South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador during the Trump administration, said on “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” that it is “really premature” to make a call but indicated that she would be “inclined in favor of a pardon.”
Last week, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy demanded other candidates in the 2024 race sign a pledge to pardon Trump in the documents case or explain their refusal.
Larry Elder, a conservative talk show host, told Fox News that he would instruct his attorney general to “drop the politically motivated charges against Trump.
Elder also pushed for legislation to fight “weak-on-crime” district attorneys across the country, a move that could be consequential for Trump as he also faces state-level charges in the New York hush-money case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Charges in a 2020 election-focused inquiry in Georgia may soon follow.
On the Democratic Party side, the campaign for Robert Kennedy Jr. told Fox News they “have no comment on any Initiative which comes from Republican primary candidates.”