A 2024 Republican presidential candidate as well as another GOP official considering a White House bid have distanced themselves from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said he is considering pardoning the Jan. 6 rioters.
DeSantis on Thursday said he would consider pardons for those involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on his first day in office.
“I’ll have people coming together and looking at all these cases… people [who] are victims of militarization or political targeting, and we will be aggressive in granting pardons,” he said.
More than 500 people have pleaded guilty – and more than 400 have been convicted – of crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack, committed by Donald Trump supporters who were trying to block certification of the 2020 election.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who is up in the air to run for president in 2024, told CNN’s Jake Tapper the idea is “nothing” he would do before saying the remarks from his potential challenger are “not disqualifying”.
“I wouldn’t do anything, of course, but not disqualifying. Look, I think in our time there is nothing disqualifying for a candidate, unfortunately,” Sununu said on Sunday.
“We’ve seen hyperbole on both sides, we’ve seen extremes on both sides. So when we say that a problem will drive the candidate out of the race. In 1996 it might have been something like that, but it’s weird how single issues no longer drive and nullify any candidate.
He then criticized fellow Republicans for focusing on “all those things of the past,” including the Capitol riot, before saying the party should focus on the future.
The discussion of potential pardons comes after Trump, at a CNN town hall earlier this month, promised to pardon a “large portion” of those convicted of federal offenses for their role in the attacks.
Former Arkansas governor and 2024 candidate Asa Hutchinson, meanwhile, criticized the idea of ”general pardons” during an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart on Sunday.
“Secondly, this was a very serious offence, calling into question the fundamental principles of our democracy and attempting to nullify the elections, and I therefore consider it serious, and any request for a pardon must be considered like any other pardon that I considered governor,” Hutchinson said.
“And I would as president but no general pardon, it’s a serious offence.”