Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested the use of pardons and commutations in the cases of Proud Boys members and others sentenced for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. (You can check out his comments in the clip below)
The GOP candidate, in an interview with Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on Wednesday, weighed in on how he’d approach their sentences if he were elected president.
“We will look at all those cases. I mean, so there’s some examples of people that should not have been prosecuted. They just walked into the Capitol. If they were BLM, they would not have been prosecuted,” DeSantis said.
“Then there’s other examples of people that probably did commit misconduct, they may have been violent, but to say it’s an act of terrorism when it was basically a protest that devolved into a riot, to do excessive sentences — you can look at – okay, maybe they were guilty but 22 years if other people that did other things got six months?”
He continued: “I think we need a single standard of justice and so we’ll use pardons and commutations as appropriate to ensure that everyone’s treated equally. And as we know, a lot of people with the BLM riots, they didn’t get prosecuted at all.”
The comments arrive one day after Enrique Tarrio, the ex-chairman of the far-right street gang the Proud Boys, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the riot.
Other Proud Boys members such as Joe Biggs, Zachary Rehl, Dominic Pezzola and Ethan Nordean have recently received sentences of 10 to 18 years in prison.
Over 1,100 people have been charged with crimes in connection to the Jan. 6 riot, the Associated Press noted.
DeSantis’ remarks arrive after he initially used the events of the Capitol attack to argue for an anti-riot bill in his state and, days after the riot took place in 2021, said he was “glad” to see some of the rioters arrested.
After he announced his presidential campaign, DeSantis didn’t rule out issuing pardons for former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 rioters in May.
He’s since declared that Trump should have “come out more forcefully” as the riot took place while doubling down on the idea of pardoning him, as well.