Several GOP Senators Slam the Idea of Trump's January 6 Pardon Promise

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Former President Donald Trump promised to pardon those who were arrested and sentenced to prison for their role on January 6, 2021. Several GOP Senators are opposing the idea of granting pardons.


Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said:

“I don’t think potential candidates should hold pardons out as a promise. It’s somewhat problematic for me on a moral level and an ethical level — sort of like promising other giveaways to particular individuals.”

It is understandable why GOP Senators are pushing back on Trump’s promise to pardon those arrested on January 6, 2021. If the GOP wants to run on being tough-on-crime and pro-police in 2022 and 2024, they must take into account all crimes because if the pardons do happen, or the idea that the pardons could take place, the Democrats would spend all their energy on that, running ads in swing states about that, and it will be difficult for the GOP to highlight Biden’s policy failures.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) said he would not support pardoning people convicted of crimes due to their actions on January 6.

“If he were elected, he would have a constitutional ability to do it. I would disagree with it. I think there was insurrection and I think these folks need to be punished.”

“I was there. This was truly violent. People were injured, people were killed. I have very little mercy for the individuals that were involved in that activity that day.”

There were many people at the protest who were peaceful, but those who committed violent crimes should serve their time.


Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-SD) also disagrees with the pardon promise, saying:

“The only people that get pardoned are people who are charged with crimes. If they were charged with crimes, they ought to be prosecuted like everybody else. The rule of law applies. If people broke laws, they need to be held accountable.”

Thune made it very clear. If people broke laws on January 6, they need to be held accountable.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) said:

“Let’s see which ones he would choose to do. There’s no question it has been a massive prosecutorial effort.“

“I think that the folks who committed crimes, particularly violent crimes, on that day ought to be prosecuted. I think the question becomes, are there people who’ve been caught up in this drag net who, for instance, didn’t know that they were trespassing?“

“There’s a lot of concern about, frankly, the double standard at [the Department of Justice] going after people who may have at most trespassed on federal property and not even known they did it versus folks who have in [Black Lives Matter] riots committed violent crimes and not been prosecuted.”

“There absolutely is undeniably a double standard.”

Hawley is correct. Those who committed violent crimes at the Capitol should be prosecuted. But we should also remember that in 2020, during the Summer riots, then-Senator Kamala Harris posted a bail fund to free some of the criminals.


Ted Cruz (R-TX) said there’s a big difference between acts of violence and peaceful protests.

“I think there is a stark difference between acts of violence and peaceful protest. Acts of violence are unacceptable from any political perspective. Peaceful protest is protected by the first amendment of the Constitution.”

“The Biden Justice Department has used Jan. 6 and the violent acts of a few to justify persecuting the peaceful protest and political speech of the many. It is wildly inconsistent.

“The Department of Justice turns a blind eye to violent rioters who looted, destroyed and firebombed American cities across the country but is eager to target anyone who dares speak on the other side of the aisle.”

The Democrats’ hypocrisy is clear. They want January 6 protestors prosecuted, but they want to ignore the 2020 Summer riots and the criminals who burned down buildings and destroyed small businesses to not be prosecuted.

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) said:

“The Jan. 6 riot was an attack on the temple of democracy, and the people who violated the law, attacked our law enforcement and besmirched our nation’s Capitol should be prosecuted according to the law, and certainly should not be pardoned. It’s a grossly inappropriate comment to make.”


We all knew where Romney stood on this issue from the very beginning. Those who committed a violent crime should be prosecuted. But to attack every protestor that went to the Capitol on January 6 is wrong. The majority of protestors were peaceful, some even urging the security to stop those entering the Capitol.

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said granting pardons to January 6 protestors is “a bad idea.” He added:

“Pardons are given to people who admit misconduct, rehabilitate themselves. They’re not supposed to be used for other purposes.”

The pardon message does not seem as popular as some thought it might be, especially right before the midterm elections. Those who commit violent crimes should not be pardoned or bailed out, and that also goes for the 2020 Summer riots.


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