In a statement where Trump chastises the rioters he so whole-heartedly incited, called “special”, and said he loved the night before, Trump hints that he plans on running again in 2024. Wow… this just keeps going. Here’s the short version of what Trump said;
“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again,” This builds off the statement he made before he found out he lost where he said (repeatedly) “It’s been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years.”
But will Trump actually run again in 2024? As I see it, there’s a few major things standing in his way.
Trump Hung Everyone Out To Dry
Prior to Trump putting his most avid followers in harm’s way by inciting and condoning their violence and then admonishing them the very next day, he may have had a shot. Now, this isn’t the first time that Trump’s thoroughly turned 180 on his most avid and loyal followers… without them even seeming to realize this.
If you look back at his speech when he found out he won in 2016 where he – in short – said that his entire platform was a lie and he just said the first thing he could think of… and everyone cheered? Yeah, let’s not forget that moment.
But after this, even the most loyal among his political allies are trying to distance themselves. But, even if he does have a shot, I doubt that him and Pence would partner up again for another go-round. Mostly because Pence was offered up as a sacrifice to appease the angry mob for their “stolen election” that has absolutely no basis in fact.
There is, however, the small matter of him committing a high crime (against the American public and his government) pretty openly while in office and the talk of Trump facing a second impeachment. And there’s rumors swirling that he’s planning on pardoning himself prior to actions being taken against him.
But CAN Trump Pardon Himself?
I’d like to take a moment to point out that Trump being unable to do something never stops him from trying. For instance, Trump being unable to sue the democratic system in the Supreme Court… but still trying to a whopping 68 times anyway. Or, I don’t know, uh, Trump being legally unable to incite a violent uprising against a democratic process.
Whether or not he can doesn’t mean much, and I suspect we’ll see him at least attempt to pardon himself. From various reports (that have, thus far, been mostly unsubstantiated) Trump’s been toying with the idea of a self-pardon since 2017.
And in one very on-brand Trump tweet back in 2018 wrote, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”
So, the question we’re really out to answer here is will it work?
From a constitutional standpoint, maybe, the rules are a bit vague here. The only thing that a President is unable to pardon according to the document is impeachment. And since it doesn’t explicitly state something like, “And one’s self,” this would fall in line with the doctrine.
HOWEVER, back in the Watergate days, Lawton was the acting direction of the Justice Department’s Office Of Legal Council and she laid out what the executive branch’s position on presidential self pardons was – and still is – for a long time standing.
Which is basically, a self-pardon can’t work because “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, it would seem that the question should be answered in the negative,” which is basically a fancy way of saying you can’t pardon yourself because you can’t be a judge in your own mistakes. Legally speaking, that is.
So Trump attempting to pardon himself may very well land him in more hot water than before. Simply because he’s – yet again – flagrantly flying in the face of the law. Or obnoxiously close, anyway.
And Then There’s Impeachment
If, as promised by Pelosi, Trump’s impeachment process starts before he leaves office, he’ll be unable to pardon himself. At least for whatever they indict him for. Everything that’s left out of the indictment is, in theory, up for grabs for a self-pardon.
But, again, this may just bring the legal system down on him more vehemently than before.
And given he won’t be the president after he (theoretically) pardons himself, he could be facing a different court system and on trial for criminal misconduct in the civil court systems.