Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House 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 LaHoodBlagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' Illinois GOP House delegation blasts Blagojevich commutation: 'The face of public corruption' MORE, John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusPelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing Blagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' MORE, Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerLawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Blagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' MORE, Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisTrump says election proposals in coronavirus stimulus bill would hurt Republican chances Hillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Democrats press for more stimulus funding to boost mail-in voting 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.