On Saturday, former President Donald Trump suggested at a Conroe, Texas rally that if he runs for president in 2024 and wins, he would pardon hundreds his loyalists facing charges related to the January 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol.
“So many people have been asking me about it,” Trump said on Saturday. “If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly. We will treat them fairly.”
“If it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly,” Trump continued.
Trump condemned the January 6 Commission and a number state-level investigations into Trump’s actions, including in New York where state Attorney General Letitia Jams is looking into allegations that Trump’s company misrepresented the value of its assets, and in Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Wilis is investigating whether Trump is being investigated State officials were illegally pressured to reverse the 2020 election results.
Trump encouraged his supporters to organize massive nationwide protests in the event that investigations into his company and attempts to overturn the 2020 election results continued.
“If these radical, vicious racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had…in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere,” Trump said on Saturday.
Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle attacked Trump’s suggestion that he would pardon those who participated in the attack on the Capitol.
In a CNN appearance on Sunday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) likened Trump’s words to a “threat,” and said that he was acting like a “two-bit dictator.”
To think that someone would run for a high office and say, ‘You can conduct any kind of criminal conduct you want. Don’t worry, if you’re doing it to support me, I’ll give you a pardon when I get there.’ As a [former] prosecutor, I’d say: ‘This has to be somebody’s making this up. It couldn’t be real.’
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) also took issue with the former president’s comments over the weekend, expressing concern that Trump was encouraging his loyalists to engage in additional acts of violence.
“There are other groups with causes that may want to go down the violent path if these people get pardoned,” Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.
Many of the people charged for their participation in the Capitol attack are able to justify their actions. citing the speechTrump made the speech at the White House, January 6, 2021.
During the speech that directly preceded the breach of the U.S. Capitol building, Trump told his supporters that if they didn’t “fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He also instructed his loyalists to go directly to the Capitol building to interrupt Congress’s certification of the legitimate election results, telling them that they would “never take back our country with weakness.”
Trump has Since claimed that his words on January 6 were his own. were “extremely calming” and that he didn’t do anything wrong that day.