Donald Trump Doesn’t Want or Deserve a Pardon
If anyone has earned life in prison, it’s Donald Trump.
Joe Biden would be better off pardoning a thousand turkeys. Nonetheless, this idea has been floating around the Internet lately, especially after a controversial op-ed piece by Michael Conway over at NBC.
It’s a bad idea, for several reasons.
Ultimately, there’s no point in offering Trump a pardon. It would do nothing but blow up in Biden’s face.
Trump is guilty of too much.
Right now Donald Trump is looking at multiple charges of fraud, sexual assault, and defamation. Once he leaves office, he could be looking at additional charges over abuse of power and obstruction of justice. There’s even an argument he’s guilty of negligent homicide when it comes to his handling of the pandemic.
Here’s a full list.
You can’t make that stain go away with a magic wand.
Despite all that, legal experts doubt he’ll ever see the inside of a jail cell. He’ll spend years in court, angling for plea deals.
It’s a shame, but not that surprising.
Trump isn’t ready to accept consequences.
Donald Trump will never admit what he’s done, because he’s incapable of feeling responsibility or guilt like a normal human being. It’s not just about COVID-19. It’s about his blatant racism. It’s about the hate crimes he inspired, and the militias he galvanized. It’s about the violence committed in his name, which he then applauds.
It’s about his reckless disregard for anyone but himself.
You can’t pardon someone who continues to proclaim their righteousness and innocence in the face of reality. Doing that just validates the delusion they were never wrong to begin with.
Trump might never go to jail, but he’ll spend years sweating in courtrooms and worrying about his future late at night.
That’s the least he deserves.
Forgiving Trump is unthinkable to millions of Americans. Trump can’t even understand forgiveness himself, because he’s never felt guilt. You’re not worth a pardon until you’re ready to accept consequences.
Trump wouldn’t accept a pardon.
There’s another big reason why Joe Biden shouldn’t offer a pardon.
It’s debatable whether Trump even wants one, from Biden or anyone else. If he got one, he could gather attention by rebuking it.
He could use it for political purposes.
Trump would destroy a pardon’s original purpose at reconciliation. Like everything else, he would use it to divide the country while promoting his own agenda. He would be cruel and ungracious.
Trump would relish the opportunity to snub Biden. Rejecting reasonable offers is what he does. It would supercharge his base. They’d see it as a victory, in the most petty way.
In other words, he would make a mess out of it.
A pardon could make things worse.
Nobody I know really supports a Trump pardon. The argument that it would “heal the nation” falls flat.
It’s completely tone deaf to both sides.
Look around, we’re about as divided as you get. It’s mother against daughter in America, brother against sister. Newspapers have been running stories for months about how the election has placed family members at odds. Relatives aren’t even on speaking terms. A meaningless pardon won’t do anything to stitch these wounds.
It’s a nice thought, but it won’t work. If anything, it might simply polarize us even further. A pardon will embolden Trump supporters and invite another wave of scorn and ridicule toward Democrats. It will also split Biden’s supporters, many of whom crave to see Trump suffer as much as possible for what he’s done to the country.
It’s bad enough the man is getting away with criminal negligence. Giving him a pardon would be a slap in the face to those hurt worst by his absurdly cruel presidency, including anyone who knows what it feels like to deal with the incessant abuse of a narcissist.
You can’t pardon active hate.
A pardon should happen for a good reason: The punishment didn’t fit the crime. They exonerate themselves somehow. The government decides to send a message to everyone else.
Even Trump knew this. He pardoned people like Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa sheriff known for his racist attitudes and corruption. The guy also believed Obama forged his birth certificate.
Pardon Trump, and you pardon racism. You pardon hate. You send a message that endangering people’s lives and inciting them to violence is something we can all look past and move on from.
We’re not ready for that yet. The hate is still white hot. A pardon won’t bring the reconciliation we need. It would simply send a message that America wants to sweep it under a rug and forget about it. We shouldn’t be moving on from Trump’s hate already.
We’re still in the process of defeating it.
You can’t pardon sedition.
Of all Trump’s crimes, his greatest is sedition. There’s ample evidence to prove it. It’s serious business, not to be taken lightly.
Here’s a basic definition:
Sedition is a serious felony punishable by fines and up to 20 years in prison and it refers to the act of inciting revolt or violence against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying or overthrowing it.
A lot of Americans think putting Trump on trial for sedition is the right thing to do. After all, he’s spent most of his presidency undermining the government, merely to enhance his own power. He’s worked against cities that opposed his brand of politics, while openly encouraging militias to “liberate” states for trying to protect their own citizens.
His tweets alone could put him in jail for decades.
Trump is already getting off easy.
We’ve already talked about how unlikely it is that Donald Trump will ever truly pay for what he’s done.
Still, we know. We’ll never forget.
We also understand that holding him accountable would, most likely, tear the country apart. So he’s getting off easy.
Trump will be tried in public opinion and history books. If divine justice exists in any form, he’ll be judged there too.
A pardon won’t change that.
A true pardon would list Trump’s worst crimes.
We can hope for Trump to face a judgment of his own making after he leaves office, but let’s face it. No pardon could ever bring true satisfaction or restitution to Americans.
A true pardon would have to articulate all of Trump’s crimes. That’s the only way to acknowledge the scope of his damage. Doing that would incite rage and violence from what’s left of his base.
Still, anything less would be a farce.
So maybe it’s better to leave the question of a pardon alone altogether, at least for the next few years. Maybe we need a cooling off period. Maybe we should let the lawyers get Trump sorted out first.
Biden has nothing to gain here.
Our next president has bigger problems than Trump. He faces a hostile Congress, a divided nation, and a broken economy.
That’s enough for one administration.
Besides, look at how Obama treated Trump — with grace and hospitality. Trump didn’t care. He still spent years trashing him, and blaming him for all of his own failures. The man has no interest in olive branches. Anyone who tries to help Trump simply makes themselves vulnerable. Trump sees kindness as something to take advantage of.
Trump wouldn’t accept a pardon, but he would definitely use it as evidence of his innocence. He would try to build a comeback on it.
On some level, Biden knows this.
The last of Trump’s supporters are just like him. They’re beyond reason right now. Offering them any form of truce will just make them angry, and give them more fodder for their conspiracy theories.
Biden should let Trump fend for himself.
The new Attorney General is the one who will ultimately decide Trump’s fate. Whatever investigations launched into Trump, they won’t be Biden’s personal vendettas. They’ll be chosen carefully.
If Biden wants to win over conservatives and the working class, he’s better off straightening out the economy. Empty gestures aren’t going to play well with anyone right now. Americans want action.
The best thing Biden can do is leave Trump alone. Don’t help him. Don’t make peace. Don’t antagonize. Let him fend for himself.
It’s what he’s done to us.