Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) praised President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups 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.
"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.
Rod Blagojevich: "He's [Pres. Trump] got a obviously a big fan in me. If you're asking what my party affiliation is... I'm a Trumpocrat." pic.twitter.com/ztVuNuCQYq— Haleigh Hoffman (@HaleighHoffman) February 19, 2020
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.
"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 LaHoodIllinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map US must support Lebanon as it faces economic and political instability The case for improving America's research and experimentation tax credit MORE, John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusGOP ekes out win in return of Congressional Baseball Game Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE, Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerKinzinger defends not supporting voting rights act: 'Democrats have to quit playing politics' Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases Illinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map MORE, Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisIllinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map GOP rep presses Capitol Police Board on outstanding security recommendations House approves John Lewis voting rights measure 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.