President Trump said Tuesday he has commuted the 14-year sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“We have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday before departing for Los Angeles. “He served eight years in jail, he has a long time to go. Many people disagree with the sentence. He’s a Democrat, he’s not a Republican."
Trump added that Blagojevich, who has been serving time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Colorado, was "very far from his children."
"They’re growing older, they’re going to high school now, they rarely get to see their father outside of an orange uniform … so he’ll be able to go home to his family after serving eight years in jail,” the president said.
Trump has approached the idea for months, even asking donors at an event whether they supported Blagojevich's early release, the Wall Street Journal reported in late October.
Previously, Trump said the White House was reviewing the matter, saying the sentence was "a very severe one."
"Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, was sentenced to 14 years in prison," Trump tweeted in August. "He has served 7 years. Many people have asked that I study the possibility of commuting his sentence in that it was a very severe one. White House staff is continuing the review of this matter."
The president said he pardoned former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik on Tuesday, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to tax crimes and lying to the White House. He was being vetted by the Bush administration for the top spot at the Department of Homeland Security.
Additionally, he pardoned financier Michael Milken who spent two years in jail during the early 90s after prosecutors alleged his financial strategies and tactics were "criminal schemes," as described by the White House. Trump noted Milken's commitment to philanthropy and medical research in his remarks.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal who built one of the most successful NFL teams in the game's history.
DeBartolo, who owned the San Francisco 49ers during their 1980s-1990s dynasty, was involved in one of the biggest owners' scandals in the sport's history. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony when he paid $400,000 to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license.
The White House announced the surprise decision to reporters on Tuesday, with NFL greats Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley in attendance.
"You know what, we all make mistakes and today the president cleared that mistake from him," said Haley, an NFL Hall of Fame defensive end who played on two of DeBartolo's Super Bowl-winning teams.
DeBartolo, whose San Francisco 49ers won five Super Bowls under his leadership, stepped down as owner in 1997 after two Louisiana newspapers reported he would be indicted for gambling fraud.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.