On Wednesday afternoon, November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump announced he had granted his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a presidential pardon. More pardons of Trump allies are expected during his final months in the White House, and one far-right Republican who is encouraging the president to make maximum use of his ability to pardon allies is Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Moreover, Gaetz is stressing that Trump should pardon himself before he leaves office.
Gaetz, on November 24, tweeted, "President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to. The Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with @realDonaldTrump to deliver for the American people." And Trump forwarded Gaetz' tweet.
Trump hasn't been charged with any crimes, but after he leaves the White House on January 20, 2021 — the day of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration — he could be the target of multiple investigations at the federal and state levels. Trump's finances have been the subject of a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., and his ability to grant presidential pardons only exists at the federal level and not at the state level. Flynn was pardoned for federal offenses he pled guilty to.
Gaetz' November 24 tweet echoed what he had already said earlier that day during an appearance on Fox News.
The congressman told Fox News, "President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to because you see, from the radical left, a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump Administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people. So, I think that the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly."
As appalled as Trump's critics are by the Flynn pardon, they aren't necessarily surprised by it. And other Trump allies who the president is likely to pardon, according to his critics, range from his former 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to former Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon (who is facing criminal charges).