Julian Castro said Tuesday night that if he wins the presidency in 2020 Donald Trump would not receive a pardon for his crimes. The former Obama cabinet official implied that the current president would likely be charged with multiple felonies in coming months.
If Trump is indicted for federal crimes, Castro said he could expect to suffer the full consequences, speaking in New Hampshire at his first campaign stop since jumping into the presidential race on Saturday.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of over 100 Democratic activists who turned out to meet him, the young Texan was heartily cheered when he stated:
“I would not be inclined to issue a pardon, because I don’t think that anybody should be above the law.”
Then he added,
“It’s kind of a red-meat issue. It’s also a very sober issue. The next president probably is going to have to make a decision about this.”
The crowd — considered unusually large for a Tuesday night in January — came out to learn more about what the former HUD Secretary had to say and why they should support him instead of the numerous other Democrats likely to be in the 2020 primary field.
According to first-hand reports, Castro generally took a positive approach and came across as very upbeat. He promised that he would address the two major issues of growing income inequality and destructive man made climate change.
Most Democrats clearly want a candidate who will be able to beat Trump and is willing to stand up and fight against the current president. Castro did present himself as that person, hitting Trump for his lack of ethics and his possibly criminal behavior. He also attacked the president’s policies on immigration and many other issues, saying they were misguided and harmful to the country.
“Many of us have watched over the last 18 months and we wonder, how did we fall this far from the leadership that President Obama offered to what we have in the White House today,” Castro said.
When later asked if he would look to Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon after Watergate for guidance in how to deal with Trump, Castro’s response suggested that he had given the matter some thought, saying:
“I think that the next president is going to have to make probably going to have to make a decision like this about the president because one of those investigations, whether it’s the Mueller investigation or it’s in the Southern District of New York, is going to present the issue of punishment. That’s what I believe.”
Ford was criticized after issuing a blanket pardon to Nixon immediately after his resignation from the presidency, and then lost his bid for reelection to Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Given that history it is very unlikely that any Democratic president would ever decide to issue a presidential pardon to Donald Trump, who most people want to see severely punished for all of the many crimes he has committed.