Kim Kardashian West on meeting Trump: “I am willing to do what it takes to fight for what’s right”
Kim Kardashian West has confirmed to Mic she will meet with President Donald Trump on Wednesday at the White House to discuss the case of Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother who has served over 21 years in federal prison for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.
“I’ve been fighting very hard and am willing to do what it takes to fight for what’s right,” Kardashian West told Mic in advance of the meeting.
The meeting with Trump, initially reported by Vanity Fair, will mark the culmination of months of behind-the-scenes efforts by Kardashian West to free Johnson. Kardashian West first became aware of Johnson’s case after watching a Mic Opinion video in October telling the great-grandmother’s heartbreaking story.
She has been working on Johnson’s case ever since. In November, Kardashian West hired her personal attorney Shawn Chapman Holley to assist with the case. Kardashian West also exchanged letters with Johnson from prison in Aliceville, Alabama, where she is serving her sentence of life without parole.
Mic recently reported that Kardashian West has also been working closely with Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on Johnson’s case. Those conversations picked up in recent weeks alongside Kushner’s broader efforts to pass a criminal justice reform bill in Congress.
In an interview, Kardashian West told Mic that if given the opportunity, she would tell Trump that “just like everybody else, we can make choices in our lives that we’re not proud of and that we don’t think through all the way.”
Wednesday’s meeting is significant because it also marks Johnson’s 63rd birthday, a fact that Kardashian West celebrated on Twitter early Wednesday morning.
Johnson has served over 21 years in prison for participating in a drug conspiracy. In order to be released, she would need to be pardoned by the president. Her case for clemency was most recently denied in 2016 by the Obama administration.
Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, Mic was able to reach Johnson by email from inside of prison. She expressed her deepest gratitude to Kardashian West for her support and advocacy.
“Kim is truly my war angel who will stop at nothing or leave no stone unturned to bring me home,” Johnson said in the email. “She is genuinely committed in her quest and has the sweetest heart for me.”
Johnson also praised Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and said she supports their efforts in a criminal justice reform bill.
“Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been amazing in their support and in their advocacy for prison reform,” Johnson said.
At a recent White House prison reform summit organized by Kushner, Trump brought together a bipartisan group of lawmakers and advocates to discuss the First Step Act, a bill that would reform federal prisoner rehabilitation programs and that has growing bipartisan support in Congress.
“Send a bill to my desk. I will sign it,” Trump told the room full of leaders at the time.
According to some reports, rapper Meek Mill was also set to attend the summit, but ultimately canceled his visit due to public pressure.
If Trump were to pardon Johnson, she would join four others whom the president has pardoned since taking office.
Most recently, Trump issued a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, the legendary boxer who was widely believed to have been sentenced to prison in 1913 because he was black. His case was also championed by other prominent celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone, who joined Trump in the Oval Office to celebrate the pardon.
Alice Marie Johnson said she remains hopeful that Trump will pardon her.
“To hear of how President Trump spoke of America’s belief in giving people a second chance in life at the prison reform summit gave me so much hope that one day I might be given that second chance too,” she said.