WASHINGTON – President Trump said this morning he will grant a pardon to Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative writer who earlier this year generated controversy for mocking Parkland survivors and is slated to speak before Florida Republicans in late June.
D'Souza plead guilty in 2014 to making illegal campaign contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in the names of others.
He was fined and sentenced to five years of probation, though later said he was targeted by the Obama administration – an argument that apparently resonated with Trump. "He was treated very unfairly by our government!" the president tweeted.
Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
D'Souza has been named one of the speakers for the Republican Party of Florida's Sunshine Summit in late June.
But his online mocking of Parkland students drew a backlash and condemnations from some Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott.
"His comments were disgusting and unacceptable. The governor has spent a lot of time with the Parkland victims and their families and will always stand with them," Scott spokesman Ryan Patmintra said earlier this month.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam reacted similarly.
In February, days after the Parkland massacre, D'Souza poked fun at a photograph of grieving students attending a Legislative session in which a proposed assault weapons ban was rejected from consideration.
Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs https://t.co/Vg3mXYvb4c— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) February 20, 2018
Genuine grief I can empathize with. But grief organized for the cameras—politically orchestrated grief—strikes me as phony & inauthentic— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) February 21, 2018
He later apologized.
RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said he was not deterred by the criticism of selecting D'Souza as a speaker.
Former RPOF Chairman Al Cardenas on Thursday called D'Souza a "bad choice."
Bad choice as Fla GOP annual dinner speaker for lots of reasons, not just below ....but below is good and timely reason to rescind invitation. https://t.co/GVzPmJnf03— Al Cardenas (@AlCardenasFL_DC) May 31, 2018