Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters as he formally announces his intention to seek the Republican nomination for president on June 7, 2023 in Ankeny, Iowa.
Scott Olson | fake images
Several Republican hopefuls for the 2024 presidency criticized Donald Trump on Sunday as the former president faces 37 federal charges for allegedly hoarding documents after leaving the White House.
Trump has lashed out at his critics, including members of his former staff, in the wake of his impeachment, calling his former attorney general Bill Barr a “Gillless Pig” and his “weak” former chief of staff John Kelly with a “A VERY small ‘brain’.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who announced his run for president earlier this month, said Trump’s comments suggest he is the “worst manager in the history of the American presidency.”
“He’s a petulant kid when someone doesn’t agree with him,” Christie told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Presidential hopeful and former Vice President Mike Pence said it is “premature” to say whether or not he would pardon Trump if he were convicted. Pence said Wednesday that he could not defend himself against the criminal charges against Trump, but he added Sunday that he does not know why many Republicans assume they will find him guilty.
“All we know is what the president has been accused of in the impeachment,” Pence told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “It saddens me that we are now in this moment.”
Questioning Trump’s commitment to conservative principles, Pence said he is “moving away” from his stance on abortion and that his position on the national debt is “identical” to President Joe Biden’s.
He added that he hoped Trump would be “convinced” to accept the 2020 election results, which Trump has repeatedly claimed were stolen.
“No one who puts himself above the Constitution should be president of the United States,” Pence said.
Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor who is also a presidential hopeful, said he doubted Trump’s ability to forgive himself if he were reelected.
“I doubt it. I don’t think that’s the intent of the Constitution in giving the president the power to pardon,” Hutchinson said on ABC’s “This Week,” later adding that while a self-pardon would be “inappropriate” and “unseemly” , doing so is “exactly what (Trump) would attempt if he were elected president.”
Hutchinson also said he would not accept the Republican National Committee’s promise to endorse the eventual GOP presidential nominee as a condition of taking the debate stage.
“I am not going to support, just like other voters are not going to support, someone for president who is under impeachment and possibly convicted at that time,” the Arkansas Republican said.
But Trump had a supporter on Sunday in Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who said the former president should be pardoned if convicted. The biopharmaceutical businessman called for the dismantling of institutions such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation for so-called “political views.”
The agency is “a formula for corruption,” Ramaswamy said on “Fox News Sunday,” for allegedly threatening Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights era or “going after political conservatives” like Trump.
“It’s about defending principles over politics,” he said.