GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed openness to possibly pardoning former President Donald Trump from potential federal charges if he won the 2024 presidential election.
DeSantis explained that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI have been “weaponized” when he was asked whether he would potentially consider pardoning Trump during an interview with The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show on Thursday.
The Republican governor launched his presidential campaign on Wednesday after months of speculation about whether he would run for the presidency next year. Trump announced his presidential bid in November, even though some Republicans expressed interest in backing other candidates for the GOP nomination.
The former president is also facing several criminal investigations, including a probe looking into his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, events, when his supporters stormed the Capitol building in an effort to stop the certification of a Joe Biden victory.
“What I’m going to do is—I’m going to do on Day One—I will have folks that will get together and look at all these cases, who are people who are victims of weaponization or political targeting, and we will be aggressive at issuing pardons. Now, [in] some of these cases, some people may have a technical violation of the law,” he said.
DeSantis added that he would use the “pardon power” in cases where the federal government had been “weaponized against disfavored groups,” including ones that haven’t received media attention.
“And that could be from a grandma who got arrested and prosecuted to all the way up to, potentially, Trump himself. Is that fair to say when you analyze what the charges might have been brought on a federal level?” Travis asked DeSantis.
To which the governor then responded: “I would say any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big.”
Trump heavily targeted DeSantis over the past months, but the governor rarely engaged in a heated exchange with the former president. However, he recently criticized Trump for adding trillions to the national debt during his time as president and supporting an amnesty for illegal immigrants.
During an interview on RealClearPolitics on Wednesday DeSantis commented on Trump’s string of insults against him.
“So [Trump’s] drawing helpful contrast with me now,” DeSantis said.
“He’s running attacks, attacking me for voting against an omnibus spending bill that he signed when he was president. Absolutely, I think he should not have signed those omnibus spending bills. He added almost $8 trillion to the debt in a four-year period of time,” DeSantis said, referring to how the national debt rose from $19.9 trillion to about $27.7 trillion during Trump’s time in office.
Newsweek reached out by email to Trump’s press team for comment.