Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s now running for president after a chaotic rollout of his bid for Republicans’ nomination via an audio conversation hosted on Twitter with the site’s owner, billionaire and longtime public menace Elon Musk, said in a recent interview he was open to pardoning defendants with cases originating with the Capitol riot if he’s elected.
Trump has long said the same. Both Trump and DeSantis have sought to downplay the basic and well-documented seriousness of what actually happened. In his own recent comments, the Florida governor said that “some people may have a technical violation of the law,” in reference to the rioters. Imagine the outrage on the Right if a Democrat used that language to describe their own supporters who’d been credibly accused and repeatedly convicted of criminal offenses like savagely beating police officers. Among other expressions of concern, Liz Cheney — the former GOP Congresswoman from Wyoming and daughter of the former vice president under George W. Bush — insisted neither Trump nor DeSantis were qualified to take the White House.
“Any candidate who says they will pardon Jan. 6 defendants is not qualified to be President,” Cheney said on Twitter in a Thursday post that was quickly viewed millions of times.
Holding the White House obviously seems to reasonably assume a basic level of respect on the occupant’s part for the rule of law. And yet, Trump has consistently clamored against the judicial process as it’s been faced by defendants from the riot, no matter the multiple levels of review and, again, extensive documentation for many of their acts preceding the charges. He has also, of course, targeted the judicial system as he himself has faced it, speaking at one recent point of so-called death and destruction accompanying a New York indictment that recently dropped and calling out oppositional figures he’s encountered in court by name, as though to send his riled up supporters after them.
One could easily argue a level of tacit agreement with his supporters’ most violent ambitions. Remember how then-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said Trump was knowledgeable and openly dismissive of the threat from weapons in the crowds seeing him January 6?
Any candidate who says they will pardon Jan. 6 defendants is not qualified to be President.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 25, 2023