Could Trump Run for President from Prison?

can trump be president from prison
Screenshot: Donald J Trump YouTube Channel

Democrats – and some in the media – have talked up the prospect of the former President Trump ending up behind bars from one or more of the dozens of indictments he’s facing.

The indictment and other ongoing criminal investigations of Donald Trump has caused some to wonder that if he is convicted, becomes a felon, and does prison time, would any of this prevent him from still running for president?

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A Prisoner President?

Believe it or not, running for President from a prison cell is not unprecedented. As a matter of fact, running for President from a prison cell and doing well is not unprecedented.

Politico reports:

There are no legal obstacles to running for president as a convicted felon or even from behind bars. And if Trump finds himself in that predicament, he’ll be following in the footsteps of another rabble-rousing populist and frequent presidential candidate: the avowed socialist Eugene V. Debs, who received nearly a million votes while in prison a century ago.

Debs is far from the only person who has sought the highest office in the land while in prison, but he was the most successful. In 1920, he became the Socialist Party nominee while serving a 10-year federal sentence for urging people to resist the World War I draft.

Trump is by far the current GOP presidential primary candidate most likely to secure his party’s nomination. November polls had Trump leading Joe Biden in five critical swing states.

So could Trump serve as president from prison?

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Trump Could Pardon Himself

Politico continued, “A Trump electoral victory from behind bars would open a constitutional can of worms, but the general view among legal scholars is that the need for a duly elected president to fulfill the duties of office would override a criminal conviction and require the sentence to at least be put on hold. And if Trump were convicted of a federal crime, he could even try to pardon himself immediately upon taking office — a maneuver that Debs himself promised to undertake if he won.”

While running for president from prison has been done, being a president behind bars would be unprecedented.

But according to the legal scholars Politico interviewed – and Politico is not exactly known for being a Republican or Trump-friendly news outlet – a second term for President Trump in any scenario doesn’t sound impossible.

And of course, these questions are all premised on Trump being convicted, something time will ultimately tell.

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is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in conservative media and Republican politics. He... More about John Hanson

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