Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) praised President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 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.

 

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.

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"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 LaHoodRahm Emanuel predicts Trump will seek retribution against GOP opponents, won't run for reelection NRCC finance chair: Republicans who voted for Trump impeachment will not be penalized California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success MORE, John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusGrowing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year MORE, Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerSunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged Trump endorses former aide against pro-impeachment Republican MORE, Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisLawmakers propose draft bill to create Capitol riot commission Pelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol breach is 'next step' Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber 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.