Why does Mitt Romney think President Biden should have pardoned Donald Trump?

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Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney’s recent comments in an MSNBC interview have stirred significant attention, particularly given his historical disdain for former President Donald Trump. Surprisingly, Romney suggested that President Biden should have promptly pardoned his predecessor upon assuming office.

The animosity between Romney and Trump traces back to at least 2014 when Trump publicly discouraged Romney from seeking the presidency again after his unsuccessful bid in 2012. Despite occasional flirtations, such as Trump’s consideration of Romney for Secretary of State in 2016, tensions persisted. Notably, Romney became the sole GOP senator to vote to convict Trump in both of his impeachment trials.

Romney’s unexpected advocacy for a Biden-Trump pardon isn’t necessarily indicative of a thaw in the frosty relationship between the two politicians. Rather, Romney framed his suggestion as a strategic move to bolster Biden’s image. He argued that such a pardon would elevate Biden as the magnanimous leader, with Trump portrayed as the recipient of mercy.

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In Romney’s view, the timing of the pardon would be opportune, considering that federal cases against Trump are unlikely to be resolved before the next election. He asserted that the nation would prefer to avoid the spectacle of prosecuting a former president, and public awareness of Trump’s alleged transgressions hasn’t significantly impacted public opinion.

Despite his advocacy for a pardon, Romney remains steadfast in his refusal to support Trump. He reiterated his stance that character matters significantly to him, particularly in light of allegations such as sexual assault. However, Romney stopped short of endorsing Biden, leaving his future political allegiances ambiguous.

Trump currently faces a litany of legal challenges, including 88 criminal charges, about half of which are at the federal level. It’s worth noting that a presidential pardon would only apply to federal charges, leaving Trump vulnerable to prosecution at the state level for offenses brought by individual states.

Among the allegations against Trump are election subversion, mishandling of classified documents, civil suits related to his business ventures, and a scandal involving hush money payments to a former adult film actress. While some cases are pending, the legal saga surrounding Trump’s conduct remains a subject of ongoing scrutiny and debate.