Mike Pence has declined to pledge to pardon former Presidet Donald Trump during an interview with conservative radio host Clay Travis on Wednesday.
Mike Pence opens up on the matter
Pence, who served as vice president in the Trump administration and is running for president in 2024, faced a grilling on the former president’s federal criminal indictment during an appearance on The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.
Recently, Trump faced a 37-count indictment related to his handling of classified documents. He pleaded not guilty in federal court this week on allegations he defied a subpoena and obstructed justice in an effort to retain highly classified documents — including nuclear secrets, U.S. defense capabilities, and potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. to foreign attack. He faces hundreds of years in prison.
The former president has faced a wave of condemnation over the allegations contained in the indictment, including from conservative legal analysts. His own attorney general, Bill Barr, said Trump is “toast” if “even half” of the allegations in the indictment are true.
Pence, who Trump supporters sought to hang on Jan. 6 over his refusal to attempt to overturn the 2020 election, has also condemned Trump’s alleged conduct.
In his interview with Travis, the commentator and Outkick founder asked whether he would pledge to pardon Trump if he is indeed convicted of these charges.
“Well, first off, these are serious charges,” Pence replied. “And as I said, I can’t defend what’s been alleged, but the president does deserve to make his defense. And I would say to each one of you, look, I’ve been a former governor. I’ve actually granted pardons to people and I take the pardon authority very seriously. It’s an enormously important power of someone in an executive position. And I just think it’s premature to have any conversation about that right now.”
Travis argued that “as a matter of principle,” given his belief Trump “is being prosecuted for political-based reasons,” presidential candidates should pledge to pardon Trump even before the prosecution goes forward.
Travis conceded the allegations against Trump “are serious” but “allowing Donald Trump to be put in prison” is a worse result than “taking a principled stand in saying, as a matter of principle, this shouldn’t happen.”
“With all due respect, when you aren’t telling us what your decision would be, I think you’re dodging the question and frankly, not stepping up on the front of leadership,” Travis said.
“I don’t think you know what the president’s defense is, do you?” Pence shot back. “I mean, what are the facts? I mean, look, we either believe in our judicial process in this country or we don’t. We either stand by the rule of law or we don’t.”
“What I’m hearing is you’re fine with Donald Trump being put in prison, sir,” Travis replied. “And that to me, since you were his vice president feels pretty disrespectful.”
Pence has spoken out against Trump since the former president egged on the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, beating cops and chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”
Earlier this month, he launched a presidential campaign to challenge his former running mate, and has ramped up his criticism of Trump’s behavior.
“It’s premature,” Pence told Travis. “Let’s let the process play out. Let’s follow the facts. And I promise you, as president of the United States I’ll do just that.”