GOP strategist Steve Schmidt on Monday slammed President Trump’s claim that he has the right to pardon himself, calling it a “flat-out, stone cold lie” and “propaganda.”
Schmidt, a former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and frequent critic of Trump, also said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Trump’s tweet asserting that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself is “profoundly disturbing,” likening it to what can be found in the political dystopia novel “1984” by George Orwell.
“We have two things connecting here,” Schmidt said. “First is Donald Trump’s assertion that, ‘what I say is true.’ Straight out of ‘1984’ … Now you combine that fact where the president is basically asserting that ‘truth is what I say is true, what I believe is true,’ despite any material facts along with the legal assertion that ‘I am the law.’ And those two things are profoundly disturbing.”
The comments come after Trump sparked backlash Monday morning after tweeting that he could pardon himself, but that he doesn’t have to because he hasn’t committed a crime.
“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Trump tweeted. “In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”
He later argued that the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller was unconstitutional, adding “that we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!”
Schmidt, a political analyst for MSNBC, has relentlessly criticized Trump.
In January, he said the president’s administration couldn’t be less professional if they were monkeys “hurling their excrement at each other.” And in May, he attacked Vice President Pence, calling him a “titanic fraud.”