The DeSantis Pardon Predicament

Will Ron DeSantis’s calculated MAGA pandering will be enough to appease the Hannity-Tucker-Mark Levin crowd when he is asked to commit to outright pardoning Trump? Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
June 15, 2023

There’s no reason yet to doubt the conventional wisdom that Donald Trump has become even more politically formidable in the G.O.P. primary since he was charged with 37 felonies last week. In recent days, two polls published after his indictment dropped found that a whopping 81 percent of Republicans voters believed that the charges were politically motivated, 80 percent said he should still be able to assume office even if he’s convicted, and 61 percent said their views of him remained unchanged. 

That’s a tough break for other wannabe candidates, especially when most Republican consultants are warning against attacking Trump, or even staying quiet, lest they aggravate the party’s base. “It’d be political suicide,” a G.O.P. operative told me, noting how former party stalwarts like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger were exiled for criticizing Trump after January 6th. “I don’t care if you’re Kevin McCarthy, with $50 million in the bank, or if you’re Marjorie Taylor Greene. It doesn’t matter where you stood before that. You’re gone.”