Over the past two years, Trump disparaged presidents for pardons they’ve issued, even as he issued more pardons than each of his three predecessors by this point in their presidencies. Trump’s pardons often boil down to his definition of “unfair treatment” and the parallels he sees between his pardons and his legal issues.
“No politician in history … has been treated worse or more unfairly,” Trump said of himself in May 2017.
Tweeting about his pardon of Dinesh D’Souza on Thursday, Trump said D’Souza was “treated very unfairly by our government!”
On the campaign trail, Trump cited the charges against Kristian Saucier, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Gen. James Cartwright as examples of a legal double standard, after the Justice Department declined to charge Hillary Clinton for her use of a personal email system. (Obama pardoned Cartwright in January 2017, and Trump pardoned Saucier in March 2018.)
But Trump’s willingness to remedy an “unfair” justice system via presidential pardon seems to vanish when speaking about his political enemies.
“Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said, ‘Pardon me,’ ” Trump joked at the 2016 Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner. “And I very politely replied, ‘Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.’ ”
“We all want to go through a process, and we want to make sure everyone is guilty properly,” Trump said, not joking, days before the 2016 election. “But [Clinton] did things where — and we have a trial, have to go with, but she's guilty. She's guilty.”