In an attempt to defend his pardon of the controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, Trump tried to deflect by reminding the world that Obama was just as bad or even worse when it comes to pardons. The only problem is that the said ‘pardons’ were commutations, a subtle difference that Trump couldn’t grasp.
Trump recently retweeted a Fox News pundit that mistakenly took two of Obama’s most controversial commutations for pardons. Katie Pavlich replied to a former Obama administration official who criticized Trump for pardoning Arpaio with this tweet:
Your boss pardoned a traitor who gave U.S. enemies state secrets, he also pardoned a terrorist who killed Americans. Spare us the lecture. https://t.co/90jZcPXYqx
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) August 27, 2017
The President quickly retweeted the message to show everybody that his first pardon was not as awful as Obama’s pardons.
Obama Never Pardoned Manning and Rivera
The thing is that Obama never pardoned Oscar Lopez Rivera and Chelsea Manning. He only commuted their sentences. This means that the two cannot run for public office (as Arpaio now plans to), cannot serve on a jury, and their criminal past can bar them from landing their dream job. In other words, their crimes weren’t wiped away, only their sentence was.
In Arpaio’s case, he will no longer go to jail, and his crime was erased from his criminal record. The former sheriff can still vote, hold a public office, or serve on a jury.
A pardon of Manning would have been wrong since the former military officer handed top secret information to the pro-transparency website WikiLeaks, putting the country’s national security at risk.
Rivera was charged in the early 1980s with seditious conspiracy, but he was never convicted of terrorist acts or murder. So, calling him a “terrorist who killed Americans” is a bit of a stretch.
Image Source: Obama Library