Politics

Donovan, Grimm Clash over Possibility of Trump Pardon

Grimm accused Donovan of trying to push Grimm out of the race

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., served time in prison for tax fraud. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Dan Donovan brought up the possibility of pardoning former GOP Rep. Michael Grimm with President Donald Trump, the New York Republican said during a debate with Grimm on Monday.

Donovan said he informed Trump that former GOP Rep. Guy Molinari would be reaching out to the White House about pardoning Grimm, but said Trump was “disinterested once he heard Guy was a never-Trumper.”

Grimm resigned from Congress in January of 2015 and served eight months in prison for tax fraud. Grimm has attempted a comeback by challenging Donovan, and accusing Donovan of not supporting Trump. Trump has endorsed Donovan, implying that Grimm would not be electable in November.

Donovan said Trump’s staff said to tell Molinari and Grimm to call the pardon office. 

The pardon came up during the pair’s first debate on 77 WABC ahead of the June 26 primary. Grimm said he met with Donovan shortly before deciding to challenge him in the primary, and Donovan gave him the number for the pardon office.

“You were offering pardons because you didn’t want me to run against you,” Grimm said. Donovan denied that, and said he simply gave Grimm the phone number.

The two continued to talk over one another throughout the exchange, clashing over who requested the meeting and what they discussed.

“I’ll let everyone else decide Danny,” Grimm said. “You look like a fool right now.”

Grimm recently told Fox News that he would welcome a pardon from Trump. 

Grimm and Donovan clashed from the moment the debate began, repeatedly interrupting each other. Trump carried the 11th District, which is based in Staten Island, by 10 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.

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