If Elected President, Biden Says He Would Not Pardon Trump

Published on October 14, 2019 by Athena Pallas

Former Vice President Joe Biden says if he is elected president, he would not follow President Ford’s example of pardoning his predecessor, i.e. Biden would not pardon Trump if he is charged criminally. Biden’s rationale includes that pardoning Trump would be against the will of the people, who face the consequences of their own actions and would be gravely disappointed to find a president not face the consequences of their own actions. Along those lines, Biden said yesterday about the prospect of pardoning Trump, according to The Hill, “It wouldn’t unite the country. You’d say: ‘Wait a minute. I get a parking ticket and I’ve got to pay it. This happens to me and I’ve got to go to jail. This guy does all these things that put us in jeopardy and he gets off? I think this is of a different nature.”

President Ford did face sharp criticism for pardoning his predecessor, Richard Nixon, for Nixon’s involvement in Watergate. Ford said his rationale for giving Nixon a complete and unconditional pardon was to advocate for the best interests of the country, in order for the country to be able to move forward from the scandal. Biden contends that Ford likely came to regret his decision, however, and it is partly this perspective that elapsed time affords that has led Biden to say he would not pardon Trump. Biden also pledged that the environment of his administration, if he is elected president, would be very different ethically from the Trump administration. According to The Hill:

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday said that if he is elected president, he would not pardon President Trump from any possible charges he may face as the president wrestles with an impeachment inquiry focused on his dealings with Ukraine. Biden told Radio Iowa that he wouldn’t follow the example of former President Ford, who pardoned his predecessor, President Nixon, so Nixon would not be prosecuted for his role in the Watergate scandal. …”I think President Ford, God love him he’s a good guy, I knew him pretty well, I think if he had to do it over again he wouldn’t have done it …because he didn’t get reelected,” he added. …Biden on Sunday said at a press conference that he would build on “the squeaky clean … environment” of the Obama White House, according to Radio Iowa. “No one in my family will have an office in the White House, will sit in on meetings as if they’re a cabinet, will, in fact, have any a business relationship with anyone that relates to a foreign corporation or to a foreign country,” he said. 

That last bit seems to be aimed at showing the hypocrisy of Trump going after Joe Biden related to his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business contacts, when Trump not only installed his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, in White House posts for which they had no qualifications whatsoever, but also has maintained ownership of his businesses, which definitely have business relationships abroad, and with his oldest two sons running day to day operations of those businesses.

Donald Trump once bragged that he could get away with shooting someone on 5th Avenue in New York City and not even lose votes, showing a tremendous degree of arrogance in his belief that he will not face consequences for his actions. That arrogance, along with Trump’s actions, intensifies the sentiment of many people that Trump must be made to face those consequences. The Justice Department may keep Trump from being indicted, at least on the federal level, while he is a sitting president, but there is no such protection once Trump is no longer president.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.