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“Pledge to Pardon: DeSantis and Haley Vow to Stand by Trump Should He Face Conviction

As the 2020 elections heat up, two major GOP figures, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared their support for possibly pardoning President Donald Trump if charged with a criminal offense in a post-presidency. The two spoke separately on the July 23rd edition of Fox & Friends, a news talk show, to make their respective pledges. DeSantis was the first to lend their support for a potential pardon to the President. During his appearance, he cited two arguments. Firstly, he cited state interests by claiming that overturning the results of the 2016 election, carried out in Donald Trump’s favor, would invalidate the votes of the millions who chose the president to be their leader. Secondly, he stated thatleaving Trump and his administration exposed to potential political prosecution would have an adverse effect on the confidence in free and fair elections. DeSantis then shifted to advocating a potential pardon by Fox News host Steve Doocy. He argued that a potential pardon for ‘espionage type of things that people have alleged against the President’ would be far-fetched. Nevertheless, the Governor continued to support such a pardon, suggesting that Trump should not be legally disadvantaged simply because he failed to secure a second term in the White House. Following DeSantis on the show was former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who concurred with her prominent Republican colleague. She unequivocally indicated her approval for a potential pardon, arguing that it would have a positive effect upon the Republican voting base. As she put it, “It would be a huge relief to people who voted for him in 2016 and voted for him again in 2020, to make sure that their votes weren’t wasted.” Given the contentious nature of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, and President Trump’s recent statements insinuating that the election is ‘rigged’, the discussion of a pardon may prove to be a preemptive measure to calm supporters and encourage voter participation. Whether or not President Trump is in need of a pardon, however, remains to be seen.