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Biden mocks reporters for asking him about DeSantis pardon statement

By Ben Marquis
|
May 30, 2023

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed to suggest last week that he would consider issuing a pardon to former President Donald Trump and some individuals prosecuted over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot if elected president in 2024.

President Joe Biden, when asked by a reporter about the pardon remarks from DeSantis, avoided the question with a laugh and a wave, the Daily Mail reported.

Biden also mocked reporters for not living in the "real world" in response to probing questions and demands for details and guarantees with regard to a debt limit increase deal the White House reached with House Republicans on Saturday.

DeSantis Said He Would be "Aggressive" in Issuing Pardons

On Thursday, ABC News reported, as part of his formally launched 2024 presidential campaign, Gov. DeSantis appeared on "The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show" and was asked about how he would make use of executive clemency, particularly with respect to certain Jan. 6 defendants and former President Trump.

"We will be aggressive [in] issuing pardons," DeSantis replied with reference to how the FBI and Justice Department have been "weaponized" and politicized instead of focusing on law enforcement, and said, "what I'm going to do is -- I'm going to do on day one -- I will have folks that will get together and look at all these cases, who are people, who are victims of weaponization or political targeting."

"If there are three other people who did the same thing, but just in a context like [Black Lives Matter protests] and they don't get prosecuted at all, that is uneven application of justice, and so we're going to find ways where that did not happen and then we will use the pardon power," he continued and clarified that "it will be done on a case-by-case basis."

Asked specifically about issuing a pardon for a non-violent grandma prosecuted for protesting at the Capitol or even former President Trump himself, DeSantis said, "I would say any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big."

Biden Blows Off Question on DeSantis Pardons

On Monday, President Biden stopped briefly to speak with reporters prior to leaving the White House and faced a number of questions about the debt limit deal, followed by one question about the pardon remarks from Gov. DeSantis that actually resulted in an abrupt end to the Q & A session.

"Did you see that Ron DeSantis said that if he became President, he would pardon Trump? Where are you on the idea of presidents pardoning Trump?" a reporter asked. In reply, Biden laughed, waved, mumbled something inaudibly, and then said, "It’s a great question. Thank you," as he walked away.

Prior to that, Biden also delivered mocking responses to several queries about the debt limit deal his White House reached on Saturday with House Republican negotiators led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20).

Biden Mocks Reporters on Debt Limit Deal Questions

According to the Associated Press, the compromise agreement included elements that both Democrats and Republicans could tout as wins or consider losses, and the proposed deal has been sharply criticized by both hardline conservatives as well as far-left progressives, albeit for different reasons.

Quizzed on the prospects of the proposed deal passing a divided Congress, President Biden told reporters on Monday that he had talked to several top members and felt "very good" about it, then noted, "And, look, one of the things that I hear some of you guys saying is, 'Why doesn’t Biden say what a good deal it is?' Why would Biden say what a good deal it is before the vote? You think that’s going to help me get it passed? No. That’s why you guys don’t bargain very well."

Pressed on how he would convince Democrats to vote for the deal, Biden refused to divulge details and said, "Look, you guys all get on and say, 'Tell them what a good deal it is.' How about -- how about if this was a 100 percent deal for the Democrats? Do you think it would help me get it passed?"

A couple of moments later, pressed to provide a "no question" guarantee that the deal would be passed prior to June 5 -- the new date by which the Treasury Department has warned the nation could default on its debt payments and obligations -- the president mocked, "Well -- you guys are -- you guys -- you realize you’re not in the real world. 'No question.' There is no reason why it shouldn’t get done by the 5th. I’m confident that we’ll get a vote in both houses. And we’ll see."

Passage of Compromise Deal Not Guaranteed

According to the AP, Speaker McCarthy vowed to reporters that the House would vote on the proposed debt limit deal on Wednesday, which, if passed at that time, would seemingly provide the Senate with sufficient time to hold a vote of its own on the agreement prior to the new June 5 deadline.

Passage of the measure is certainly not guaranteed, however, as both Democratic and Republican leadership will have their hands full attempting to wrangle enough members into line over serious objections from the right flank, which has complained that not enough concessions on spending were made by Democrats, and the left flank, which has complained that too many concessions were made to appease Republicans.

If passed, the deal would suspend the debt limit through 2025, limit some spending for two years, claw back some unspent COVID-19 relief funds and IRS appropriations, strengthen some work requirements for welfare recipients, streamline the permitting process for domestic energy production, and end the moratorium on student loan debt repayments, among other things.