The evening before he pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Donald Trump shared a tweet from GOP Florida congressman Matt Gaetz in which the Republican advised him to pardon as much of his administration as possible – and even himself.
“President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to,” Mr Gaetz tweeted on Tuesday.
“The Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with @realDonaldTrump to deliver for the American people.”
Mr Gaetz also appeared on Fox News’s The Ingraham Angle on Tuesday. In the clip, he said that the Democrats’ ravenous “bloodlust” will only be satisfied “if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigour and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people".
He added: “And so I think that the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly.”
On Wednesday, the president pardoned Flynn, after the disgraced general twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted.
President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to.
The Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with @realDonaldTrump to deliver for the American people. pic.twitter.com/wdTfu3Xwmp
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 25, 2020
“Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
Flynn was among the first people charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. He has since sought to withdraw his plea.
Mr Trump currently faces multiple investigations of his finances and business affairs at state level. The president is only able to provide pardons for federal crimes.
Mr Trump tweeted in 2018 that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but qualified the statement: “Why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”
In the Nixon era, the Justice Department stated that the president does not in fact have the power to pardon himself. There is also no basis for the idea that Trump could pardon himself preemptively.