FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims Obama Pardoned 1,927 People And Trump Pardoned 26

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 7,700 times claims former President Barack Obama pardoned 1,927 people while President Donald Trump has pardoned 26.

“And Trump is abusing that power?” reads part of the caption.

Verdict: False

Obama pardoned 212 people, and Trump has pardoned 25 so far, Justice Department (DOJ) data shows.

Fact Check:

On Feb. 18, Trump granted clemency to 11 individuals, pardoning former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. and commuting the 14-year sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, among others, The New York Times reported.

Pardons remove all legal consequences of criminal convictions, whereas commutations totally or partially reduce an individual’s sentence while leaving the conviction intact, according to the DOJ.

Comparisons between the president’s pardoning record and Obama’s started circulating online shortly after Trump’s most recent clemency blitz. The Liberal Privilege USA page alleged Obama pardoned 1,927 people, whereas Trump only pardoned 26, commenting, “And Trump is abusing that power?”

But clemency statistics compiled by the DOJ show those figures are inaccurate. (RELATED: Viral Instagram Post Claims MLK Didn’t Die From A Gunshot)

The post likely got its figure for Obama from his total 1,927 grants of clemency. That number includes 212 pardons and 1,715 commutations, including 330 that he granted on his last day in office, per the DOJ. Obama has granted more clemency than any other president since Harry Truman, according to the Pew Research Center.


Meanwhile, Trump has granted clemency to 35 individuals to date. Those clemencies include 25 pardons and 10 commutations, according to DOJ clemency statistics. (It is important to note, however, that the post’s comparison of the two presidents’ records isn’t “apples-to-apples,” as the figures cover Obama’s two terms of office and the first roughly three years of Trump’s presidential term, respectively.)

The White House has assembled a team of advisers to recommend and vet candidates for future pardons and commutations, the Washington Post reported.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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