Dear Editor: 

Most civic-minded citizens know that it is common practice for outgoing presidents to pardon criminals, often with some controversy regardless, of the party they represented. I often agreed with the criticism of some who were pardoned in the past, but serial lawbreaker Donald J. Trump is embarking on the most sordid presidential pardon spree in American history. He has already pardoned convicted crooks, thieves and violent outlaws. 

Two that Trump pardoned were racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., and former Democratic governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich. But some of the worst pardons went to four private mercenaries in Iraq who killed 17 innocent civilians in 2007. Further, Paul Manafort, convicted of bank fraud on two counts and subscribing to false U.S individual income tax returns for 2010-14 tax years, got a gift from Trump.

Then there is Charles Kushner, father of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was convicted for fraud and false statements and retaliating against a witness and victim with 16 counts.

Chris Collins, former New York congressman convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, was pardoned and former Cong. Duncan Hunter of California, charged with conspiracy to commit offenses, was pardoned as well.

When I last checked the list, available to anyone interested, Trump had pardoned 70 people as of Dec. 24, 2020.  Former bank robbers, tax evaders, mail fraudsters and cocaine traffickers were pardoned.

From this short list and not knowing who is next, I concluded that crime does pay well in America and if you run for Congress, are a mercenary who kills civilians, a bank robber and a criminal who assaults a citizen, don't worry, you could easily get a pardon depending on who is president.  

Considering how delusional Trump continues to be in his last days of office, it is hard to tell what will happen next. I hope that Trump followers behave come inauguration day but we don't know if there will be civility or violent chaos. Lets hope for the former as we get started in the New Year.  Stay safe and get your Covid-19 vaccination when it comes available.

Grant Wiegert


Editor’s Note: Grant Wiegert’s letter was submitted prior to the Wednesday, Jan. 6, invasion of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. by a mob of pro-Trump rioters that disgraced the nation.