The mask wearing photo-op was a ploy to divert attention from his other troubles like Russian bounties, retaliation against Alex Vindman, and the Roger Stone clemency. And then there’s his claim that playing lots of golf is better because he plays faster, now that his play up to now is equivalent to playing more golf than Obama did in eight years.
President Trump issued his first pardon in August 2017, just about seven months into his presidency. Three years and three dozen clemencies later, some patterns have emerged.
One clear pattern is Trump's tendency to grant clemency to prominent political figures and people who have shown loyalty to him, clemency scholars say. That propensity was on full display on Friday, as Trump commuted the sentence of his former campaign adviser Roger Stone. Stone was just days away from beginning a 40-month prison term for lying to lawmakers investigating Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.
“Modern presidents have sullied clemency through disuse (both Bushes) and occasional self-serving grants (Clinton),” Mark Osler, a law professor and clemency scholar at the University of St. Thomas' School of Law, told NPR via email. “However, no president has ever used clemency primarily to reward friends and political allies” — until Trump.
In announcing the commutation Friday, the White House called Stone a “victim of the Russia Hoax” and said he “has already suffered greatly.”Presidents can grant clemency through both commutations, which reduce a prison sentence but do not erase a conviction, and pardons, which express presidential “forgiveness” and can restore certain civil rights.
With only a handful of exceptions, Osler said, Trump's clemency grants have gone to “people he knows or learned about from Fox News.” On a single day in February, Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of 11 people, all of whom had one thing in common: either their cases were promoted on Fox News or they had an inside connection to the president.
And even more pathetic is Trump lying about his golf, because he “plays faster”, that’s why he’s already played three times more golf than Obama. Say What?
Trump's golf cart rental bill is already more than $420,000.
Ã¢ÂÂ The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
— Kristen Holmes (@KristenhCNN) July 12, 2020
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 12, 2020