On Friday, Donald Trump continued to flex his clemency powers by announcing he may soon grant a posthumous pardon to Muhammad Ali. The legendary boxer’s ex-wife has publicly objected the idea, insisting Trump should use this power on individuals who are still living.
“There's no necessary need for a pardon,” Khalilah Ali told TMZ Sports. “Plus, he’s gone. I mean, you want to give somebody a pardon who’s alive […] I think [Trump] probably was a fan of Ali and he thought he would say something positive about him. That must be it. But it's a little too late for that.”
Ali’s charges stem from 1967, when he was sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. However, Khalilah pointed out that her late ex-husband, to whom she was with from 1967 to 1976, didn’t need a presidential pardon, as the Supreme Court overturned his conviction for resisting the draft in 1971.
She went on to say that if POTUS truly cared about her ex-husband’s principles and his right to stand up for what he believed in, then he should “pardon” the NFL athletes whom he has publicly criticized for protesting during the National Anthem.
“I think the pardon should go to those who kneel. That’s who should get the pardon,” Khalilah said. “That would be putting it in the right perspective and the right place […] If you’re willing to say it’s OK for Muhammad Ali to be pardoned for his freedom and standing up his rights and standing up for not going to the army and standing up for freedom, then you’re telling me that you’re ready to pardon everybody that has done that in the same manner as Muhammad Ali has.”