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Combat Veterans Slam Joe Biden Over Remarks About Military Justice System
Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden speaks on stage at "First in the West" event in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 17, 2019.
BRIDGET BENNETT/30240120A/AFP via Getty Images

Combat veterans have lashed out at 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden over the last 24 hours after Biden falsely declared that President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon members of the U.S. Armed Forces “betrays the rule of law.”

“Trump’s intervention in the American military justice system to pardon service members accused or convicted of war crimes betrays the rule of law, the values that make our country exceptional & the men and women who wear the uniform honorably,” Biden tweeted. “He is not fit to command our troops.”

Biden’s claim that Trump’s decision “betrays the rule of law” is categorically false. The president has the power to essentially pardon anyone he chooses, according to Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, which states:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

CNBC added: “So as long as it doesn’t have to do with impeachment, most federal, but not state, crimes are fair game for pardoning.”

Robert J. O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, responded to Biden: “You said ‘no’ to the bin Laden raid. Then you announced ‘SEAL Team Six’ when we did it. I still had my body armor on when you turned my life around. How dare you…”

Fox News contributor Jessie Jane Duff, who served in the Marines, wrote: “Thank you for letting ALL of the military know you won’t stand with them if you send them into war with the most vicious & violent enemies of our nation. The Obama Biden Admin made this very clear for [eight] years & we will NEVER forget the hell you put us through. #VeteransForTrump.”

Army Lt. Clint Lorance, who was pardoned by Trump, responded to Biden, saying: “With all due respect to the former vice president, that seems to be a partisan answer. That seems to be something that he’s just toeing the party line on. I highly doubt the vice president, being the patriotic man with a son in the military like he had, I highly doubt that he really believes that. And I think that what he’s doing is, he’s toeing the party line. He’s doing what he thinks his donors and the people that are signing his paycheck are expecting him to do. And I think if you were to sit down with him face to face I think he’d have an issue saying that… face to face.”

Biden’s comments also ignore history and statistics, as the U.S. Department of Justice reports that Trump has granted by far the fewest number of pardons in history, according to available records.

The DOJ had statistics available for all presidents going back as far as William McKinley. The list shows the number of people pardoned by each president from highest to lowest:

  1. FDR – 2,819
  2. Truman – 1,913
  3. Eisenhower – 1,100
  4. Wilson – 1,087
  5. Johnson – 960
  6. Nixon – 863
  7. Coolidge – 773
  8. Roosevelt – 668
  9. Hoover – 672
  10. Carter – 534
  11. Kennedy – 472
  12. Clinton – 396
  13. Reagan –393
  14. Taft – 383
  15. Ford – 382
  16. Harding – 300
  17. McKinley – 291
  18. Obama – 212
  19. W. Bush – 189
  20. Trump – 16
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