Thursday, May 31, 2018


The obvious point to be made about President Trump's promise to pardon Dinesh D'Souza is that he's telling those involved in the Russia investigation that they'll be in line for pardons, too, if they remain loyal to him. The obvious point to be made about Trump's suggestion that he might pardon Martha Stewart and commute the sentence of Rod Blagojevich is...

Vengeance is also involved:

But in addition, all this is narcissistic. To make another obvious point, here's Trump with a presidential power that's supposed to be all about generosity and charity, and he uses it almost exclusively on his own behalf. In the cases of D'Souza, Joe Arpaio, and Scooter Libby, he used it to try to satisfy his unslakable thirst for praise from his base. He pardoned Jack Johnson after his nemesis, Barack Obama, chose not to, and did so presumably to win the praise of a celebrity advocate for Johnson, Sylvester Stallone, and possibly in the hope of winning more black votes for the GOP in 2018 (and himself in 2020). Also, Johnson was wrongly convicted of a sex crime, and Trump probably believes he's being wrongly accused of sexual offenses as well. Stewart and Blagojevich, of course, were Celebrity Apprentice guest stars. So it's all about Trump.

You may be familiar with the story of Matthew Charles. He was convicted of selling crack cocaine to an informant in the 1990s and sentenced to 35 years in prison; he was released from prison in 2016 when sentencing guidelines for crack and cocaine were changed by the Obama administration, but he's subsequently been ordered back to prison to finish his sentence because he's classified as a "career offender" as a result of a prior stint in a state prison. By all accounts, he's turned his life around -- he has a steady job and relationship, and he does regular volunteer work at a food pantry.

Among those asking Trump for clemency in Charles's case are quite a few conservatives -- Tomi Lahren, Candace Owens, Ben Domenech, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and others. The Federalist wants Charles to be set free. So does the president's new pal Kim Kardashian.

But not a word about Charles from Trump. Pardoning Charles doesn't induce liberal tears the way helping out Arpaio, Libby, and D'Souza does. It doesn't get back at his enemies. It's not a slap in the face for Obama. It would just be an act of compassion. Hey, why bother with that?

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