The position of President of the United States is one of the most difficult and powerful jobs in the world. Although the United States government is built on a system of checks and balances, there are still a few decisions that presidents can make on their own. One of these is the ability to pardon convicts of their crimes entirely or shorten their sentencing, an act known as commuting. Throughout the history of the United States, presidents have used this power of the presidential pardon to help those they believe are deserving of forgiveness. However, sometimes these decisions go against popular opinion and cause controversy. From presidents pardoning their siblings to receiving suspicious donations, these are the most questionable pardons made by United States presidents.
Gerald Ford Pardoned Nixon After The Watergate Scandal
After the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon stepped down from his position of President of the United States although he was still guilty of various federal crimes. His successor, Gerald Ford, who had only been in office for a month at the time, pardoned him for his crimes.
He did so to prevent a massive and lengthy political trial. After announcing the pardon, the White House switchboard operators were slammed with angry calls from citizens who found President Ford’s decision to be reprehensible. Ford then later admitted that he wasn’t expecting such a backlash from his decision.