President Donald Trump promised Wednesday night that if he is reelected in 2024, he will pardon a “large portion“ of those convicted of federal offenses related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
At a town hall hosted by CNN at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Trump said he was “inclined to pardon many“ of the more than 600 people convicted of federal offenses stemming from the attack.
“I can‘t say for every single one, because a couple of them, probably they got out of control,” he said. “But most likely I will pardon a large portion of them, and it‘ll be very early on.”
The President‘s remarks come as he has embraced the cause of those who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden from taking office after the 2020 election.
At a campaign rally late last month in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump embraced a woman who served prison time for her actions during the Capitol attack. He told her to “hang in there,” called her a “terrific woman“ and said it was “so bad“ what had been done to the Jan. 6 “patriots.”
Trump has also touted the “J6 Prison Choir“ and its song, “Justice for All,” which features Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance mixed with the national anthem sung by people incarcerated and awaiting trial. He played the song at his first 2024 campaign rally.
Reaction to Trump‘s remarks has been swift and divided.
Critics say his comments are an affront to the rule of law, and a dangerous precedent for a president to make such a sweeping pledge to pardon those convicted of federal offenses.
“Donald Trump is trying to use his pardon power to reward and excuse the criminal behavior of his supporters who attacked the Capitol and threatened democracy,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Supporters of the President, however, argue that those convicted in the attack were motivated by their political beliefs, and that they should not be held to the same standard as other criminals.
“The people who stormed the Capitol are not criminals,” said former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “They were frustrated citizens trying to make their voices heard.”
At this point, it is unclear if Trump will follow through on his promise and pardon those convicted of federal offenses related to the January 6th attack. The President has not yet formally declared his candidacy for the 2024 election, and it is too soon to tell if he will have the opportunity to make good on his promise.