Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE on Tuesday night after the president commuted his prison sentence over corruption charges.

Blagojevich told reporters at Denver International Airport after being released from prison that he is a "big fan" of Trump, dubbing himself a "Trumpocrat."

"I want to express my most profound and everlasting gratitude to President Trump," Blagojevich said.

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"He didn't have to do this. He's a Republican president, I was a Democratic governor. My fellow Democrats have not been very kind to him. They've in fact been very unkind to him," he said.

Blagojevich, who was serving a 14-year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado, said he learned that Trump commuted his sentence from other inmates who saw the announcement on television.

“Other inmates came and told me they saw it being reported on the news and President Trump was at Andrews Air Force Base and made some comments,” Blagojevich told reporters.

 

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Trump announced Tuesday he was commuting Blagojevich’s prison sentence after the former governor had spent more than seven years in prison.

Blagojevich began his prison term in 2012 for a litany of corruption charges, including attempted extortion of a children's hospital for campaign contributions and trying to sell former President Obama’s Senate seat after he was elected to the White House in 2008.

"I did commute [Blagojevich's] sentence. So he’ll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail," Trump told reporters. "That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others." 

The commutation set off bipartisan criticism from Illinois lawmakers who said Trump was not taking Blagojevich’s crimes seriously enough.

"As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook. History will not judge Rod Blagojevich well," Republican Illinois Reps. Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodAmerica can't afford to ignore the food service distribution industry On The Money: McConnell previews GOP coronavirus bill | Senate panel advances Trump Fed nominee who recently supported gold standard | Economists warn about scaled-back unemployment benefits Bipartisan bill introduced to provide tax credit to food and beverage distributors MORE, John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusBottom line Bottom Line Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic MORE, Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerFox News reporter defends confirming Atlantic piece despite Trump backlash: 'I feel very confident' GOP lawmaker defends Fox reporter after Trump calls for her firing Lindsey Graham: 'QAnon is bats--- crazy' MORE, Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse passes legislation to boost election security research House Republicans investigating California secretary of state's contract with Biden-linked firm House Democrats' campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care MORE and Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE said in a statement.

Blagojevich's wife, Patti, announced on social media that there would be a "homecoming" press conference at her home in Chicago on Wednesday morning.