Dec 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Haley says as president she would pardon Trump if he's convicted of crimes

Nikki Haley speaking in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on Dec. 28. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said if she is elected president, she would pardon former President Trump if he's convicted of a crime, saying the amnesty would be "in the best interest of the country."

Why it matters: Trump currently faces 87 felony charges across Florida, New York and Georgia over allegations that he tried to overturn 2020 election results, interfered in the election, mishandled classified materials and paid a porn star hush money.

What they're saying: "I would pardon Trump," Haley said.

  • She was responding to a 9-year-old boy's question at a New Hampshire campaign event NBC News covered.
  • "If he is found guilty, a leader needs to think about what's in the best interest of the country," she added. "What's in the best interest of the country is not to have an 80-year-old man sitting in jail that continues to divide our country."
  • "What's in the best interest of the country would be to pardon him so that we can move on as a country and no longer talk about him," Haley said.

Of note: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday slammed Haley for making the remarks before the trial in the election interference case against Trump even started.

  • "Well, what that should tell the American people is that she believes in two systems of justice: one for all of us and one for the most powerful," Christie said.
  • On Thursday, Christie criticized Haley for failing to definitively say she would not accept a potential position in a second Trump administration. Christie called her stance "insulting."

Flashback: Offering a pardon before a conviction does have historical precedent.

  • President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon, a fellow Republican, on Sept. 8, 1974, for any crimes he may have committed in the Watergate scandal.

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