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By Sarah May on
 July 14, 2023

Chris Christie says he 'can't imagine' pardoning Trump if elected president

Already well known for the contempt in which he holds former President Donald Trump, Republican 2024 hopeful Chris Christie declared Thursday that he “can't imagine” offering his political nemesis a pardon if he ascends to the White House, as The Hill reports.

Christie's statement came during an interview he gave to former CNN host Chris Cuomo on NewsNation.

Asked by Cuomo for his thoughts on Trump's federal indictment and on whether he would be willing to grant clemency if he becomes commander in chief, Christie did not pull any punches.

“I can't imagine a circumstance, as we see it right now, let's say with the documents case, which is the only one that the president would have jurisdiction over, given what's alleged in the indictment, if that were proven, and...the former president were found guilty, as long as I thought he got a fair trial...I would have a hard time considering any pardon,” Christie declared.

Going a step further to take a shot at the former president and current GOP frontrunner's character, Christie added, “And by the way, as you know, to get a pardon, you have to also accept responsibility for what you did. I doubt very highly that Donald Trump would ever do that. And so I can't imagine a pardon being issued.”

Christie's take on a possible Trump pardon stands in stark contrast to that his fellow Republican primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who has taken a bold stance on the matter by vowing to pardon the former president if he becomes president and issuing a challenge to the rest of the GOP field to make the same pledge, as Fox News reported.

Speaking last month at a Florida press event, Ramaswamy made his thoughts on Trump's federal indictment very clear, saying, “The use of police force by a sitting U.S. president against his chief political rival in the midst of a presidential election sets a dangerous precedent in our country.”

“No one is above the law: the U.S. president shouldn't be able to use the federal police to arrest his opponents. No one should be below the law either, yet there are now two standards of justice depending on your political viewpoints,” Ramaswamy continued, and he guaranteed a Trump pardon if he were to win the White House, urging other candidates to promise the same outcome.

The Republican hopeful currently most closely aligned to Ramaswamy's position on the question appears to be former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who has said she is “inclined in favor of a pardon” if she becomes president, as The Hill explained.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, however, was far less willing to make the type of commitment encouraged by Ramaswamy, saying last month that the entire conversation was “premature.”

Though Christie signaled his strong opposition to the very notion of pardoning Trump in his classified documents case, the former New Jersey governor did not take a similar position in reference to the materials mishandling probe of President Joe Biden that is currently underway.

When asked about his willingness to offer Biden a pardon, Christie demurred, saying, “that would be an impossible question to answer” in that no charges have been filed to date.

Christie's palpable animosity toward Trump during his interview with Cuomo extended beyond the discussion of possible pardons, as he also took aim at the former president for recently suggesting that he may not participate in primary debates, given the large lead he currently holds over other GOP contenders.

“If Donald Trump doesn't show up, he is a coward. That's the only excuse for him sitting in his place in Bedminster, New Jersey, and watching it on TV, rather than being a man and stand on the stage. And defend his record and his conduct,” he told Cuomo, but given that Christie currently stands at just 2.6% support among Republican primary voters, his opinion on the matter may not prove terribly influential.

Written By:
Sarah May

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