At this point it is still unclear how president-elect Donald Trump will avoid the conflicts of interest his vast network of business holdings might bring when he takes office next month, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has proposed an ingenious solution for some of the equally well-healed cabinet picks and other high-level appointees. Speaking to the Diane Rhem Show on American University’s radio station, Gingrich suggested that Trump could simply pick anyone he wants and them do whatever they please and then issue a pardon if it turns out to be illegal.
“He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon,” Gingrich said. “I mean, it’s a totally open power, and he could simply say ‘look, I want them to be my advisors, I pardon them if anybody finds them to have behaved against the rules, period.’ And technically under the Constitution he has that level of authority.”
This newly discovered level of authority might serve a variety of other purposes, as well. Not only could Trump enrich himself by any means he choose, up to an including outright theft, and he could also refuse to pay any taxes. Should Rosie O’Donnell or some other celebrity nemesis prove too pesky to put up with, he could even put out a promise of a pardon to anyone who might provide a “Second Amendment solution.” Similar threats could be made against who ridicules Trump’s hair or smirky expressions, and there’s no telling what else a man of Trump’s apparent ingenuity might come up with.
Gingrich might regret that he blurted out his novel theory of presidential authority before President Barack Obama leaves office. Trump’s predecessor has greatly expanded the power of the office already, but once he finds just how very unrestrained he can be the next couple of weeks could keep him very busy.
— Bud Norman