LaHood Says ‘No’ to Blagojevich Commutation

By Benjamin Cox on August 21, 2019 at 8:52am

One of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters in the House of Representatives has broken with him on a recent issue. Congressman Darin LaHood, who has touted President Trump’s term in office said that Republicans should be proud of what the President and Republican leadership have done over the past two and a half years. “The results that we’ve seen under President Trump the last two and a half years have been a really strong economy; we’ve rebuilt our military to a level that we haven’t seen in a long time; there’s been a much more sense of security in this country. We’ve helped to secure our southern border and enforce the rule of law. We’ve put two good conservative judges on the Supreme Court in Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.Those are real, tangible benefits that I think we’ve experienced and Republicans can be proud of. I know that I’m proud of those things. We’ve got to continue to keep those things going. I’m proud to represent the district that I do. I tell people all the time that I got 710,000 bosses in my district. I’m excited to run again and continue some of these good things we’ve been doing.”

LaHood though has strongly suggested that the president not commute the sentence of former Governor Rob Blagojevich. Blagojevich has served roughly half of the 14 year sentence he received for bribery, extortion, and public corruption. LaHood says he says commutation of the sentence sends the wrong message. “What I’ve said to the White House and to the president is Rob Blagojevich is the definition of the swamp. It’s everything that’s wrong with politics in the State of Illinois. What he engaged in – the pay for play politics of shaking down people for large campaign donations illegally through extortion and bribery – that’s exactly what we are trying to change in Illinois. I reminded the president and the White House that 4 of our last 8 governors have gone to prison for public corruption.”

LaHood says that Blagojevich has never shown any signs of remorse for his crimes. “Rob Blagojevich has never apologized. He’s never been remorseful. He’s never said what he did was wrong. I just think it’s the wrong message to send by giving him clemency. I’ve expressed that. I’m also a former federal prosecutor. I understand a little more than most about what he engaged in. I expressed that to the president and I hope his commutation is not done.”

President Trump told reporters on August 15th before boarding Air Force 1 in Morristown, New Jersey that he wanted to weigh where both parties stood on the idea of Blagojevich’s release from jail. Trump and Blagojevich knew each other prior to the presidency from their time on the Celebrity Apprentice. Trump has said that he felt that Blagojevich had been treated unfairly when he was sentenced for trying to sell former President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat back in 2008.