Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley recently pledged to grant Donald Trump clemency in the event the former president faces a criminal conviction following the completion of Georgia’s ongoing criminal investigation into alleged election fraud. This commitment sparks a debate on whether a president’s actions should be judged by a higher standard of justice than everyday citizens.
Trump, who maintains that the 2020 election was “rigged” against him, is now subject to an ongoing investigation by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, into whether he violated the state’s election laws. Carr is investigating the January 2nd phone call in which Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” him “eleven thousand seven hundred votes” in order to overturn the state’s Certified Results. If found guilty, Trump could face serious criminal charges.
Given the gravity of the situation, Governor DeSantis and former Governor Haley have expressed their unwavering support for Trump and have promised to pardon him if he is convicted of any wrongdoing. While the governors have access to clemency power, the decision to or not to pardon somebody is entirely up to their discretion.
However, the decision to preemptively pardon Trump has sparked fierce debate. Those who believe he should be pardoned say that the investigations are politically motivated and allege that Trump is being treated unfairly compared to other citizens who face similar accusations. They believe that the former president should be allowed to move on with his life free from any legal consequences.
On the contrary, those who oppose the pardon argue that criminals must be held accountable regardless of what position they hold or used to hold. They argue that a president should be held to an even higher standard of justice than everyday citizens, especially when the accusations involve high-level crimes like election fraud.
Ultimately, the decision to pardon Donald Trump ultimately lies in the hands of Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. As the investigation continues, the outcome remains unknown, however it is important to consider that clemency should not be used to shield powerful people from criminal responsibility.