US political observers say the latest executive pardon issued by outgoing President Donald Trump indicates his clear intention to remain actively involved and meddle in national politics.
In an official White House bulletin released from his Mar-a-Lago holiday resort Mr Trump issued a posthumous pardon to Lee Harvey Oswald for the November 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy.
He later followed up by tweeting a message to supporters saying: “Nov 1963 – Oswald was framed. Miscarriage of justice. Just like Nov 2020 election.”
Mainstream media outlets and commentators unanimously condemned the Oswald pardon, saying the President was rewarding a murderer who took the life of a democratically elected national leader and caused a national trauma for generations of Americans.
Some interpreted Mr Trump’s action as sending a signal to supporters that it was acceptable to shoot a US President and some went as far as saying he was inciting someone to kill his successor Joe Biden.
This theory gained some credence when Mr Trump issued another tweet saying: “OK to shoot Democrat presidents or president-elects. You will be pardoned.”
While mainstream media lambasted Mr Trump, other outlets including One America News Network and Newsmax openly editorialised in support of the pardon and the public recruitment of a would-be assassin for Mr Biden.
Even Fox News merely noted it among its major political stories of the day.
When questioned, the Republican Party’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, refused to say if he condemned the pardon.
Senator McConnell said he did not need to express an opinion.
“The issue is not clear-cut because Oswald’s guilt or innocence was never tested as he himself was shot and died before going to trial,” he said.