Will Trump need a presidential pardon? - GulfToday

Will Trump need a presidential pardon?

Sean O'Grady


Associate Editor of the Independent.

Associate Editor of the Independent.

Donald Trump delivers remarks with his children (from left) Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign meeting.

If Donald Trump loses the election what will he do?  

A lot of people couldn’t give a Trump, frankly. He can go back to reality TV, write some self-serving memoirs, or have them ghost written, and promote a new line in Trump presidential memorabilia. They’d sell well: “I Made America Great Again” hats, Trump Superman dolls, toadstool-shaped love toys. He could spend more time with Melania, whether she likes it or not; and more time on the golf course. Who cares?

Of course it isn’t quite that simple. If only it were. I suspect he might be a bit of a sore loser, you know. And we’ll be subjected to years of mad conspiracy theories about how “they” rigged the election.  

Trump needs to do all that to keep up the pressure on his persecutors, who are also not inclined to fade away. Most of all, Trump has to escape from the personal legal entanglements that have complicated his presidency - and that means nothing less than a full presidential pardon.

It seems outlandish, and it is. It’s been an idea kicking around since the Mueller inquiry and then after the first steps towards impeachment a couple of years ago. At times Trump is supposed to have thought he could pardon himself (even he must know he can’t). A few weeks ago Trump’s former attorney, Mike Cohen, suggested a pardon could be granted by a briefly installed President Pence, and last week the idea surfaced again via social media, albeit a bit randomly and with something of a Democrat spin on it.  

Still, a pardon for Trump makes sense for everyone, for America, for Pence as well as Trump.  

America needs to get the Trump era, or error, over. As with the resignation and pardon of Richard Nixon in 1974, America has to heal from the trauma of the past few years. A lengthy trial, or trials, of Trump would do nothing to ease the tensions and end the pain that Trump has done so much to inflict on his country. In fact it would give him ample opportunity to carry on regardless, rallying angry supporters given to violence and generally undermining the nation’s fragile race relations. In the words of President Gerald Ford at that time, America’s long, national nightmare will only be over when the legal processes are ended. It will be, as the Book of Ecclesiastes says, a time to heal. And we know that Mike Pence is a good man. When he introduced himself to America in 2016 he called himself a Christian first, an American second and a Republican third. Now is his chance to do his Christian duty, his democratic duty and repair his party all at once. It would be the right thing to do. He might be “the man who pardoned Trump” but also the man who helped bind up America’s wounds.  

Trump himself obviously has plenty of incentive to do the deal of his life. He will in due course face a variety of serious charges currently grinding their way through the New York courts, and perhaps fresh ones too relating to tax. These were bad enough to see some of his closest associates sent to jail. Trump knows that, and will concentrate on making sure he avoids becoming the first president to be incarcerated. Trump’s personal nightmare is just beginning; suffering COVID-19 and then possibly losing to Joe Biden. He’s becoming “a loser”, or “Crooked Donald” as Hillary would call him. A pardon helps him dodge that intolerable fate and a few months or more in a cell, his business organisation, reputation, fortune (if any) all destroyed.  

For it now seems improbable that Trump will be able to stay in the White House by bullying everyone and threatening lawsuits. The margin of Joe Biden’s victory might be so big it would be foolish to even try to dispute the result. If things are tighter he might still judge it worth a try, but there is the risk, in fact overwhelming probability, that the Supreme Court will throw Trump’s objections out summarily. Suddenly Trump no longer looks invincible. 

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