Kim Kardashian West Talks Joy of Alice Johnson's Pardon, Meeting Trump
The reality star spoke to CNN's Don Lemon on lobbying President Donald Trump to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender who was serving a life sentence.
Kim Kardashian West spoke of her joy and emotion when she talked to Alice Marie Johnson, the recently pardoned nonviolent drug offender who was serving a life sentence, and said they "cried maybe on the phone for like three minutes straight."
In an interview on CNN Tonight With Don Lemon, West recalled talking to Johnson after the White House had commuted her life sentence. "I was like, you’re going home. Like, I can like cry thinking about it," she said.
"Hearing her scream was like ... I know I’m going to cry so much when I see her, but just to know that, like, we changed one person’s life, you know, is like — we cried maybe on the phone for like three minutes straight. Like, everyone was just crying, and then — I have to get it together," West added.
Johnson was convicted in 1996 for a nonviolent drug offense and sentenced to life imprisonment. She served 21 years in prison before West personally took her case to President Donald Trump in May. On June 6, Trump commuted Johnson's sentence, and she was released from prison.
West spoke to host Don Lemon about what it took to convince Trump to look at Johnson's case and said it was much more complicated than many have assumed. "I think people might think, like, Kim went to the White House, had this conversation, it was done and that’s it," she said before adding: "I saw this seven months ago, and I have [had] daily phone calls with the White House. Maybe a dozen emails a day trying to get letters, letters from the warden. I mean ... I have to [give] credit to where — Alice’s whole team had been working on this for years. So, I mean, I did step in late in the game. So I don’t want to take away from what — I mean, you’ve been working on this for three years."
On meeting Trump, West says she never gets "starstruck" but "was starstruck over the Oval Office." "It really felt powerful and felt like — you can just feel the history in there. And I just — I don't know, I just took a second to take it all in," West said.
West has met Trump before on several occasions and said he greeted her with a hug. "He was like, 'OK, so what’s going on?' You know, why are we here? He started the meeting. … 'I really want to know — I’m here because I really want to know, why did you kick Khloe off The Apprentice?' He gave us a laugh, and it was funny, and then we got in to business. And, you know, he felt it."
She added that Trump "was compassionate, he was sympathetic to her. He said, 'You know, this is a really long time that she’s been in here, right? This just isn’t fair.' He knew that this is the right thing to do, and he said that from the start, after he had heard her whole story and situation, and he knew it was the right thing to do. And he said that, and he was really honest with it. And he wanted to make it happen."
West's visit to the White House in May contrasted with the recent imbroglio over the planned — and then canceled — visit of the 2018 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. Lemon asked West about the controversy over many celebrities choosing not to visit the White House. "I do still respect their choice. I mean, everyone can do what they want to do — I never judge other people. And I do think sometimes situations are different, but I just am focused and could separate my feelings on certain policies."
Said West, "To me, it wasn’t about policies, it was about — 'I can change someone’s life.' And if I have the opportunity to do that, like, it just wasn’t even a question for me."