‘We shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted on multiple corruption charges for attempting to sell former President Barack Obama’s Senate seat, thanked President Trump for commuting his sentence on Tuesday and declared himself a “Trumpocrat.”
“I want to express my most profound and everlasting gratitude to President Trump,” Blagojevich told reporters after being released from prison. “He didn’t have to do this. He’s a Republican president, I was a Democratic governor. My fellow Democrats have not been very kind to him. They’ve in fact been very unkind to him.”
Rod Blagojevich: “He’s [Pres. Trump] got a obviously a big fan in me. If you’re asking what my party affiliation is… I’m a Trumpocrat.” pic.twitter.com/ztVuNuCQYq
— Haleigh Hoffman (@HaleighHoffman) February 19, 2020
Illinois Republicans, however, are not pleased Trump allowed Blagojevich, who they see as the “public face of corruption,” to walk free seven years early.
Illinois’s entire House Republican delegation said in a statement they were “disappointed” with Trump, arguing that Blagojevich “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,” Republican Illinois Reps. Darin LaHood, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis and Mike Bost said.
Trump dismissed the GOP’s criticism and insisted that Blagojevich had been wrongly targeted by “Comey and gang.”
Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal! Thank you to @LisaMarieBoothe who really “gets” what’s going on! @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2020
“I would think that there have been many politicians — I’m not one of them by the way — that have said a lot worse over the phone,” Trump said back in August.
Returning home to Chicago early Wednesday, Blagojevich landed at O’Hare airport hours after walking out of a Colorado prison where he served eight years, promising to work for judicial and criminal justice reform while maintaining his innocence.
“I didn’t do the things they said I did and they lied on me,” Blagojevich, a one-time contestant on Trump’s reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice,” told WGN-TV as he walked through the airport greeting travelers who welcomed him home.
Information from Associated Press was included in this report.