Romney says if he were president he would have immediately pardoned Trump

May 16, 2024, 8:40 PM

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hea...

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The committee will hear testimony about the federal response to COVID-19 and new, emerging variants. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney said that if he were President Joe Biden he would have “immediately pardoned” former President Donald Trump.

“Had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought on indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him,” Romney told MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle” in an interview set to air Wednesday. “I’d have pardoned President Trump. Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned a little guy.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, faces 88 charges over four criminal indictments in Georgia; New York; Washington, DC; and Florida — with the latter two being federal cases prosecuted by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

While the longtime Trump critic disagreed with Biden’s handling of the federal cases, Romney also criticized Trump’s attacks on the courts and called out Republicans who are trying to curry favor with the former president amid his hush money trial in Manhattan.

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The former president, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, has repeated the baseless claim that Biden has weaponized the Justice Department against his 2024 presidential election rival. He has also continuously attacked the judges overseeing his cases, giving rise to security concerns with some receiving threats.

“I think it’s a terrible fault for our country to see people attacking our legal system, that’s an enormous mistake,” Romney stated.

Allies of the former president have been flocking to the Manhattan criminal courthouse to display their support for Trump, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, who are both under consideration to be Trump’s running mate.

“I think it’s also demeaning for people to quite apparently try and run for vice president by donning a red tie and standing outside the courthouse. It’s just, I’d have felt awkward,” Romney said.

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The politicians coming to the former president’s defense — who have also included Florida Reps. Byron Donalds and Cory Mills and former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy — are attacking the people Trump is barred from publicly speaking about due to a gag order issued by the judge in the ongoing Manhattan hush money trial.

Romney has long been a critic of Trump and has often criticized his Republican colleagues for their continued loyalty to the former president. He found Trump guilty of abuse of power during Trump’s first impeachment trial in the Senate, becoming the first senator in US history to vote to remove from office a president from the same party. And a year later, he voted with six other Republicans to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 during the former president’s second impeachment trial. Romney has said he did not vote for Trump, his party’s nominee, in 2020 and has said he will not vote for him in 2024.

The 77-year-old senator as the Republican Party nominee in the 2012 presidential race, losing to Democratic incumbent Barack Obama. Romney, known for his distinctive voice in the Senate as a lawmaker willing to take on his own party, announced last year he would not seek reelection to his seat.

CNN’s Clare Foran and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

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Romney says if he were president he would have immediately pardoned Trump