It was about seven months ago when Kim Kardashian came across a tweet about the incarceration of Alice Marie Johnson—a 63-year-old grandmother who had already served 21 years of a life sentence over a non-violent drug crime.
The case struck a chord with Kardashian, who made it her mission to secure Johnson’s release. The mother of three claims she worked with Johnson’s team over the course of several months, making daily phone calls to the White House in attempt to land a meeting with President Donald Trump. As we now know, Kardashian’s persistence paid off.
In late May, the reality TV star traveled to the White House to discuss Johnson’s legal battle with the Commander in Chief. Shortly after their highly publicized meeting, Trump granted clemency to Johnson, who was released from prison earlier this week.
"When he said he has the papers in front of him and he's signing it ... my heart was so full." In an exclusive interview, Kim Kardashian West tells @VanJones68 how she got the news that President Trump was commuting Alice Marie Johnson's life sentence https://t.co/BOUKqR14RQ pic.twitter.com/ipOrGJc5RB— CNN (@CNN) June 8, 2018
In a recent interview with CNN’s Van Jones, Kardashian discussed her involvement in Johnson’s release as well as the factors that motivated her to assist.
“I really felt for her. Because I felt like she’s was a good person—you can see that in her,” Kardashian said in the exclusive interview. “She lost her longtime job, got a divorce, her son died—just everything was going bad for her […] She had four other babies she had to take care of, and she was desperate. […] When you’re in a desperate situation, you’ll do whatever you have to do to take care of your kids. I know that I would do anything for my kids. And so, I just felt this connection to her, just instantly, I wanted to help her.”
Kardashian revealed she initially contacted POTUS’ daughter Ivanka Trump and was then connected to Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner. After months of correspondence, Kardashian was finally granted a meeting with POTUS—an opportunity she knew she had to take, even though some believed it was risky.
“For me, I was very focused. I knew that if I have this meeting, I can’t go in there and talk about all the policies I don’t agree with,” she told Jones. “I’ve always had just a very open dialogue with Jared about how I felt. I’ve even been so honest to say, ‘Look, Trump is the last person I thought that would’ve done this.’ But he did. And he pulled through.”
Kardashian continued: “When I got the meeting, I knew there was gonna to be tons of backlash. I knew people wouldn’t understand it. And at that point, I had to make the decision that this is bigger than me […] I would’ve taken the backlash, no matter what that outcome would’ve been—just to try for her.”
"Just to know that we changed one person's life. ... We cried, maybe, on the phone for like 3 minutes straight. ... Everyone was just crying." Kim Kardashian West shares the joy of how she called Alice Marie Johnson in prison to tell her she would be freed https://t.co/BdCMNDJK50 pic.twitter.com/0eCePp4A4n— CNN (@CNN) June 8, 2018
Jones then addressed the speculation that Trump was simply using Kardashian as part of a PR stunt. Kardashian said she didn’t believe this was the case.
“I think Kanye’s already given him legitimacy in that way,” she explained. “I was working on this before. I don’t think I would be used. At the end of the day, he heard me out. We got the job done. What could he really use me for?”
You can check out clips from the interview above and below.
Did the President merely use @KimKardashian as a "political pawn," someone to "give him legitimacy" and eventually appear in a campaign video? "At the end of the day, he heard me out. We got the job done," she tells @VanJones68 https://t.co/QxRtgq1Qoi pic.twitter.com/CwdbSvdsl0— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 8, 2018