Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally.

Sorry Michael Conway, but There’s No Way in Hell Joe Biden Should Pardon Donald Trump

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Today in truly terrible opinions, Michael Conway wrote an op-ed where he argued the case for President-elect Joe Biden to pardon President-for now Donald Trump of his host of crimes against the country. Conway, who was former counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during Nixon’s 1974 impeachment inquiry and a republican who supported Trump in 2016, argued that “American democracy cannot tolerate the prosecution of political opponents.” He also wrote that the pardon would be an olive branch to the 73 million Americans who voted to re-elect Trump.

Oh, you mean the same Americans who chanted “lock her up!” at every mention of Hillary Clinton for the past 5 years? The same Americans who refuse to accept the results of a free and fair election? The very Americans who are protesting in the streets, who are so laden with privilege that wearing a piece of cloth on their face is somehow a form of oppression?

Yeah, I don’t think so. Donald Trump is the most corrupt, most criminal president in our country’s history, and he’s done nothing but enrich himself and his family throughout his presidency. And currently, while COVID-19 infections skyrocket over 250K Americans are dead, he has completely abdicated his responsibility and is playing golf.

Conway even admits that he doesn’t think Trump deserves it, writing “His pardon could not be justified based on his innocence or his contrition because Trump is not contrite; to the contrary, he is currently endangering our democratic processes by relentlessly undermining the legitimacy of Biden’s election and thwarting a peaceful transition.”

Conway’s argument is that a federal pardon does not absolve Trump of any state charges. He writes, “Accepting a federal pardon — especially a pardon for crimes violating both federal and state laws — would be a double-edged sword for the president. And whatever the result of any state investigation or prosecution, it could not be laid at Biden’s doorstep. It would not be his appointees investigating the former president, his recent political adversary; it would not be his employees prosecuting him. In fact, a pardon from Biden would mean that they could not.”

Conway is giving Trump supporters WAY too much credit, as if your average MAGAt would look at state charges against Trump and think, “ah, but this isn’t Biden’s doing, it’s a state matter. I surely won’t hold this against Joe Biden.” These people can’t even name the three branches of government. You think they’ll be applying a nuanced and critical lens to anything Biden says or does?

As if Aunt Linda, a Facebook COVID truther will take the time to parse out the differences between state and federal cases while sorting through her favorite Soros memes? These people are unreachable, and incapable of facing reality. The rest of us (aka the majority that elected Joe Biden) shouldn’t have to cater to their unhinged fantasies.

There’s so much wrong in Conway’s screed, and folks on Twitter quickly called him out for his absurd suggestions:

Sorry Michael Conway, but you must be completely untethered from reality if you think Trump and his cronies should be pardoned. No one is above the law, no matter how rich or self-serving.

(via NBC News, featured image: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.