Trump Brings Ex-Felon to Tears with Pardon Announcement on RNC Broadcast


A convicted felon was brought to tears when President Donald Trump granted him a full pardon in a video that aired Tuesday during the second night of the Republican National Convention.

Jon Ponder, a born-again Christian and founder of the nonprofit group Hope for Prisoners, appeared in the broadcast alongside former FBI agent Richard Beasley, who arrested Ponder in 2004 but has since become one of his close friends.

“When I met Jon 15 years ago, he was angry, scared, frustrated and anxious about his future,” Beasley said in a video released by the White House. “On the drive to prison, I stopped at a convenience store and bought Jon a coffee and a doughnut.

“After he was sentenced, Jon sent me a necktie and a note, thanking me for treating him like a gentleman,” he added.

According to The New York Times, Ponder was previously granted clemency in relation to state-level convictions for domestic battery crimes.

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The document Trump signed grants Ponder a full pardon for the bank robbery charge, The Hill reported.

“Jon’s life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption,” Trump said in the video.

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“We believe that each person is made by God for a purpose,” the president added.

Ponder got emotional as Trump announced that he would be signing a full pardon.

“I’d like to invite Jon’s wife, Jamie, to join us as I grant Jon — I’m not sure you know this,” the president told Jon Ponder, “a full pardon.”

“Thank you, sir,” Jon Ponder said, appearing to fight back tears.

Ponder looked to be sobbing as Trump signed the order.

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“Two years ago, I was honored to tell Jon Ponder’s story of transformation in the Rose Garden on the National Day of Prayer,” Trump said earlier in the video.

“I will continue to give all Americans, including former inmates, the best chance to build a new life and achieve their own American dream.”

Ponder, for his part, appeared to be grateful for his “second chance.”

“Today, praise God, I am filled with hope — a proud American citizen who has been given a second chance,” he said in the video.

“Hope for Prisoners assists with reentry by providing the formerly incarcerated long-term support and services as they work to reclaim their lives,  families and standing in the community,” the organization’s website states.

“We give them hope. Hope changes lives.”

“Only 6% of formerly incarcerated individuals who completed the HOPE for Prisoners have been re-incarcerated,” according to a 2020 Fact-Sheet from the organization. “Recidivism is as high as 69% in other states.”

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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