Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich told reporters on Tuesday evening, as he was boarding a flight home to Chicago after he was freed from federal prison: “I’m a Trumpocrat now.”
In the weeks before President-elect Barack Obama took office, Blagojevich was caught on a wiretap talking about the possibility of selling Obama’s soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat.
After a lengthy, rocky prosecution, Blagojevich was convicted and sent to federal prison for 14 years. Critics suggested that the sentence was too harsh, and that the government had been eager to move him out of the way as a symbol of the corrupt Chicago world from whence Obama had come.
But after his wife, Patti, worked for years to obtain clemency, President Donald Trump commuted “Blago’s” sentence on Tuesday, after he had served eight years in prison already.
Blagojevich, who said that he heard about the commutation on the news after the president spoke to the press before leaving on Air Force One for Nevada, expressed his appreciation to the president.
As quoted by The Week:
“[H]e’s a Republican president, I was a Democratic governor. My fellow Democrats have not been very kind to him — in fact, they’ve been very unkind to him. If you’re asking me what my party affiliation is, I’m a Trumpocrat.”
Citing his faith, Blagojevich said he would devote his life to fighting a “corrupt criminal justice system that all to often persecutes and prosecutes people who did nothing wrong.”
Blagojevich returned to his home in Chicago — with a mop of grey hair, rather than his dyed brown — and is planning a press conference on Wednesday morning.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.