(KLTV) - President Trump tweeted recently about the right of the president to pardon himself, which he said he would never need. But the comments, understandably, started a days' long discussion on the role and scope of the presidential pardon.
Additionally, it seems that President Trump has been on a roll with some high-profile pardons. So, two thoughts come to mind. What is Trump's record on pardons, and are they for the right reason?
First, President Trump has only granted a half dozen or so pardons. Compare that to more than 1900 pardons granted by President Obama – the most since Harry Truman - then 200 from George W Bush, and about 450 by Bill Clinton. President Obama had more requests for pardons than any other president as well.
So, pardons are part of the presidential realm and all have used them to varying degrees. President Trump will have more, but the thought of a president pardoning himself was used effectively as a distraction for the national news outlets. President Trump has truly mastered the ability to send the national media scrambling on topics like this. It is hard to say what the impact of these rabbit trails will be but they are part of the Trump strategy.
It is not always productive, but it is entertaining as long as these tweets and social media posts don't lead to procedural quicksand. But back to pardons – expect more, probably some controversial ones in the mix, but know that these are part of the presidential tool box. Let's hope every president uses these tools responsibly and that will make for a Better East Texas.