Yesterday afternoon, President Joe Biden engaged in a brief question-and-answer session with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.
The session took an unexpected turn when Fox News’ Peter Doocy posed a question regarding a statement made by Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, and potential presidential candidate.
Doocy asked Biden about DeSantis’ remark suggesting that if he were to become president, he would pardon Donald Trump.
Reacting with a chuckle, President Biden bid farewell to the reporters and began walking towards Marine One.
While facing the helicopter instead of the press, he mumbled something that was difficult to discern. He then turned back, shrugged slightly, and responded, “It’s a great question. Thank you.”
To clarify, Governor DeSantis did not explicitly state that he would pardon Trump if elected.
During his appearance on a conservative talk show last week, shortly after announcing his presidential candidacy, DeSantis was twice asked about pardoning the former Republican president.
In response, he indicated that any instances of preferential treatment based on politics or the misuse of power would be included in a comprehensive review of cases warranting potential pardons, regardless of their scale.
Nonetheless, it was President Biden’s lighthearted reaction that garnered attention.
Interestingly, this subject may evoke a sense of familiarity.
In October 2019, while campaigning in Iowa, Biden was asked about the possibility of emulating Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal when the latter still faced the prospect of prosecution.
Biden expressed his divergence from Ford’s decision, emphasizing that such an action would not foster unity within the nation. He also speculated that if Ford had the chance to revisit that choice, he might have made a different decision.
Biden wouldn’t be able to pardon his predecessor in response to state charges — in New York and Georgia, for example — but the incumbent president would at least have the authority to intervene in the event of federal indictments.
Biden, however, has said he has no intention of doing so, and the fact that he literally laughed off a question about this yesterday suggested he hasn’t changed his mind.