Illinois Democrats, Republicans Blast Trump’s Commute Of Blagojevich

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump confirms he's commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while talking to reporters before he boards Air Force One for a trip to Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Evan Vucci / Associated Press
Donald Trump
President Donald Trump confirms he's commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while talking to reporters before he boards Air Force One for a trip to Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Illinois Democrats, Republicans Blast Trump’s Commute Of Blagojevich

Updated at 4:07 p.m.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, calling the sentence “ridiculous.” The reaction from Democrats and Republicans in Illinois was immediate. Here are some of their statements, edited for brevity:

Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker:

“President Trump has abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption, and I deeply believe this pardon sends the wrong message at the wrong time … Illinoisans have endured far too much corruption, and we must send a message to politicians that corrupt practices will no longer be tolerated.”

Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

“You have to have compassion; that family has suffered a lot. … But what we expect under our judicial system and our justice system is that people who have committed crimes accept responsibility.

“President Trump is probably the least credible person to make this decision given what he’s done over and over again. … Undermining the rule of law – as [Trump has] repeatedly done and unfortunately I fear that he’ll continue to do throughout his term – it sends exactly the wrong message.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin:

“Former Governor Blagojevich betrayed the people of Illinois and engaged in a pattern of corrupt behavior for which he was held accountable and which cost him more than seven years of freedom. At a time when corruption by elected officials is still in the headlines, Illinois and Washington should move quickly to establish stricter ethics requirements, including the full detailed disclosure of income, net worth and income tax returns by all elected officials.”

Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin:

“I was involved firsthand with the impeachment efforts and I saw a governor who was rogue on steroids. He was a person who didn’t care about the state of Illinois. He cared about his own ambition. … So I disagree with the president’s actions. … I guess he’s not concerned about the state of Illinois for next November.”

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider:

“In a state where corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common, it’s important that those found guilty serve their prison sentence in its entirety. … Rod Blagojevich is certainly no exception. The former Governor’s proven record of corruption is a stain upon Illinois and its citizens.”

Congressmen Darin LaHood, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis and Mike Bost, for the Illinois House Republican Delegation:

“Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters. As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook. History will not judge Rod Blagojevich well.”

Reid Schar, Chris Niewoehner and Carrie Hamilton, the federal prosecutors in U.S.A. v. Blagojevich, and former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald:

“Although the President has exercised his lawful authority to commute the remaining portion of Mr. Blagojevich’s prison sentence, Mr. Blagojevich remains a felon, convicted of multiple serious acts of corruption as governor … The law and extensive facts underlying Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction were reviewed by independent judges on an appellate court and by the Supreme Court of the United States. These courts affirmed Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction and sentence, and the appellate court described the evidence against him as ‘overwhelming.’ ”

State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin:

“Rod Blagojevich’s sentence was commuted because he is friends with the president and appeared on his reality show, and no other reason. The misdeeds he committed while governor of our great state are disgraceful and embarrassing, and it’s a shame that his friendship with the president affords him the luxury of not facing the full consequences of his actions.”

State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest:

“The commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence by President Trump is yet another reason ethics reform must be passed at both the state and federal level. We must pass ethics reform during this legislative session to ensure we never have another case like Blagojevich’s.”