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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One

August 07, 2019

The President. But we're going to be doing something very, I think—very impactful. A man who is a Democrat, not a Republican—who I don't know very well, but he was on "The Apprentice" for a couple of weeks— meaning, a couple of, you know, seasons; a couple of, what would you say? Episodes. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly. He was given close to 18 years in prison. And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things. And it was the same gang—the Comey gang and the—all these sleazebags—that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich.

And I am thinking about commuting his sentence. He's been in jail for 7 years, over a phone call where nothing happens. But over a phone—where nothing happened. Over a phone call where—which, you know, he shouldn't have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say. I would think that there have been many politicians—I'm not one of them, by the way—[inaudible]—but that have said a lot worse over telephones.

And I watched his wife, on television, saying that the young girl's father has been in jail for now 7 years, and they've never seen him outside of an orange uniform. You know, the whole thing. His wife, I think, is fantastic. And I'm thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly. I think he was—I think it's enough: 7 years.

Not a friend of mine. He's a Democrat, not a Republican. It's Illinois. I think he was treated very, very unfairly, just as others were. Just as others were.

So Rod Blagojevich—I am thinking very seriously about commuting his sentence so that he can go home to his family after 7 years. You have drug dealers that get not even 30 days, and they've killed 25 people. They put him in jail for 18 years, and he has many years left. And I think it's very unfair.

So I've been thinking about that for a long time. I thought, from day one—I said, "Boy, that is really tough stuff." And I will say, we have a lot of support for that.

[At this point the President spoke off the record. He then spoke on the record as follows.]

The President. But Rod Blagojevich—I think he's got another 10 years to serve. And we're thinking about it very seriously. So there's something. That's a pretty big story.

[The President spoke off the record. He then spoke on the record as follows.]

The President. But we are looking very seriously at Rod Blagojevich. I think we can go with that—[inaudible]. If you want to go with it, you can—I mean, you can have that part of it because——

Former Governor Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois/Commutation of Sentence

Q. On the record?

The President. That's on the record.

Q. [Inaudible] The President. Yes. You can do that. I'm—in fact, I'm very strongly considering that—I think he was treated unbelievably unfairly. And he's a Democrat; he's not a Republican. And we're thinking about commuting his sentence so he can go back home to his wife and children.

And I'm very impressed with his family. I'm very impressed with his wife. I mean, she has lived for this. She has—she's one hell of a woman. She has lived—she goes on, and she makes her case. And it's—it's really very sad.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:25 p.m. while en route to Washington, DC. In his remarks, he referred to former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey, Jr.; and Patricia Blagojevich, wife, of former Gov. Blagojevich, and their daughters Amy and Anne. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 8. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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