Obama Pardoned 60X as Many People as Trump – Where Was the Media Outrage?
Earlier this week President Donald Trump announced he’d be granting clemency to eleven individuals, one of whom was former Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois Governor caught trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
Right on cue the media blasted the commutation of Blagojevich – which they used as the lede to argue that Trump has been abusing his power in pardoning or commuting the sentences of anyone.
NBC says that President Trump is encouraging lawlessness. MSNBC questioned the motives behind what they describe as a “pardon spree.” PBS brought in two former judges to get to the bottom of how “unusual” Trump’s pardons are. The Washington Post said that Trump’s pardons reveal his “corruption of the rule of law.”
I could go through dozens of other liberal rags, but the narrative is the same – that President Trump is out of control. And things sure look that way…. if you know nothing about the history of presidential pardons and commutations.
As Kevin Ryan of Unbiased America writes: there is nothing about President Trump’s decisions yesterday was lawless. Nor was it unprecedented. Nor does this amount to an unusual amount of clemency actions.
In fact, entering the 4th year of his presidency, President Trump has so far issued fewer pardons, reprieves, respites, remissions, and commutations than all but 4 presidents in history: President George Washington, the 1st president; President John Adams, the 2nd president; President James Garfield, who was assassinated just 6 months into his presidency; and President William Henry Harrison, who died of typhoid just one month after being inaugurated.
And while recent administrations’ actions have contributed to the notion that pardons are late-term phenomenon, a study of the history of clemency actions shows that they’ve occurred spread throughout a presidency: 68% occur during the first 3 years of a 4 year election cycle. Meaning that, if history is any guide, Trump will end his presidency with one of the lowest total number of pardons and commutations of any president.
President Trump has thus far issued 34 pardons and commutations – while Obama left office with 1,927. In other words, Obama had 60x the pardons/commutations with 0% of the media criticism.
With perhaps only the exception of Rod Blagojevich, Trump’s pardons and commutations haven’t even been remotely controversial (to sane individuals). Obama, who commuted the sentence of terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera can’t say the same.
Were the journalists over at CNN (and the rest of the liberal media) simply not paying attention under the Obama years, or are they banking that their audiences weren’t? I’d guess the latter.