Trump Ally Urges POTUS to Pardon Himself in Spree, Despite Voter Opposition

President Donald Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has encouraged the commander-in-chief to go on a pardoning spree should he see fit to defend himself and others from actions of the "radical left" in future.

"Trump should pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving Turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has too," he said on Fox News. "Because you see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration."

He added: "I think that the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly."

President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to.

The Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with @realDonaldTrump to deliver for the American people.

— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 25, 2020

Trump faces the prospect of lawsuits and criminal investigations upon leaving office and there have been suggestions he could attempt to pardon himself preemptively from federal crimes, ahead of leaving his position as commander-in-chief.

With no precedent for such action, his ability to do so and what challenges this might face are unclear.

Brian Kalt, a constitutional law professor at Michigan State University, previously told Newsweek the question was not "open-and-shut."

"My standard answer here is 'Well, he can try,'" he said.

Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor of American politics at American University and author of The Presidential Pardon Power, told Newsweek he believes Trump could pardon himself—though said he did not think he should.

"Legal scholars are split between those who believe he could pardon himself—I am in that camp, although I don't think he should do so even if he can," he said.

While the constitutionality of this could be brought into question, polling has indicated that public opinion shows opposition to the president undertaking such a course of action.

In an NBC LX/YouGov poll conducted November 22, 1,200 registered voters were asked: "In your opinion, should sitting US presidents be allowed to pardon themselves?"

Nearly three quarters, 72 percent, said they should not, compared to 13 percent who said they should be able to.

On a partisan level, a lower percentage of Republicans were opposed but most still felt a president should not be able to do so. Nearly half of Republicans, 49 percent, asked said they should not compared to 26 percent who said they should have the power to. Nearly all Democrats asked said they should not, with 93 percent selecting this option and three percent stating they should be able to.

Newsweek has contacted Gaetz for further comment and the White House to ask if the president has upcoming plans to make any pardons.

In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses the virtual convention on August 24, 2020. He has touted the idea of President Trump giving a pardon to himself. Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images