Former US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he would issue full pardons and a government apology to rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, The Washington Post reported.
“I mean full pardons with an apology to many,” Trump was quoted as having told conservative radio host Wendy Bell. Such a move would be contingent on Trump running and winning the 2024 presidential election.
Trump also said he met with some January 6 defendants in his office this week and that he is helping some financially.
“I am financially supporting people that are incredible and they were in my office actually two days ago, so they’re very much in my mind,” Trump told Bell. “It’s a disgrace what they’ve done to them. What they’ve done to these people is disgraceful.”
A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how the former President is financially supporting the rioters.
The former President told Bell on Thursday that if “I decide to run, and if I win, I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons, full pardons.”
“That is probably going to be best, because even if they go for two months or six months [to jail], they have sentences that could go a lot longer than that,” he added.
Trump suggested that the January 6 defendants are “mostly” “firemen, they’re policemen, they’re people in the military.” He accused the justice system, which he described as “this radical left system,” of mistreating the defendants.
In January, Trump made similar comments regarding pardoning some of those charged for their part in the riots on the US Capitol last year if he were to run in the 2024 presidential election and win.
"If I run, and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly. We will treat them fairly. And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly," Trump said at a rally he held in Texas.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) later distanced himself from Trump’s suggestion and said the comments are “inappropriate.”
“No, I don't want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” Graham said.
“There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path that these people get pardoned,” he added. “I think it's inappropriate. ... I don't want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future.”
Trump has not publicly confirmed if he is planning to run again for president in the 2024 election, but has hinted at such a run several times.
In one radio interview, Trump said that the only thing that could prevent him from running would be “a bad call from a doctor or something”.
Before that, in an interview with Fox News, Trump said that he has already made up his mind regarding a 2024 run, but couldn’t explicitly declare his intentions because of “campaign financing” issues.