'What could Trump use me for?' Kim Kardashian slams accusations that she's a political pawn
After Trump commuted her prison sentence at the urging of the reality TV star, Alice Marie Johnson is beginning a new life.
Kim Kardashian has clapped back at critics who branded her US President Donald Trump's "political pawn" after he commuted the life sentence of a 63-year-old grandmother, whose cause the reality TV star had taken up after coming to know about her.
Kim had met Trump at the Oval Office regarding the case of Alice Marie Johnson, who had been sentenced to life in prison for a first-time drug offense.
Johnson, who was jailed in 1996, was released from prison after she was granted clemency by the president.
On the night of June 7, reality TV star Kim Kardashian spoke about her visit to the White House in a conversation with CNN, rejoicing the commutation of the 63-year-old.
Host Van Jones asked Kardashian how she felt about several critics branding her as Trump's "political pawn", to which the prominent socialite responded rather vigorously, asserting that she had been working on the case for months on end.
“I was working on this before," she said. "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?
Undeterred, Jones continued to push Kim's buttons, asking her if she feels she has given Trump "legitimacy". Quite a few liberals on social media were of the opinion that her White House visit almost felt like an endorsement for the president.
Kim, however, gave it back with a blush of confidence, saying, "I think Kanye’s already given him legitimacy in that way.”
Kanye West, her megastar husband, had already met with the president to congratulate him before his inauguration and also had a public conversation with the president on Twitter back in April.
Kim recounted that receiving the call pertaining to Alice's commutation was one of the most memorable and heartwarming experiences of her life.
“We cried, maybe, on the phone for like three minutes straight,” she told Jones. “Everyone was just crying,”
“I remember I was on the phone with my husband and I said, ‘Wait, babe, I have to call you back.’ And it was a secretary on the line who said she had the president on the phone and I knew it had to be some news,” Kim said. "When he said he has the papers in front of him and he's signing it, my heart was so full."
Arguably one of the most famous women on Earth, Kim is no stranger to being surrounded by Hollywood A-listers and prominent personalities. However, she said that even she was a little starstruck when she entered the Oval Office.
“I have to say I never get starstruck. I was starstruck over the Oval Office," she said.
Kim remembered getting in touch with First Daughter Ivanka Trump and telling her, “I know that you have compassion for women like this.”
Ivanka immediately set her up with her husband, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, who worked with Kim relentlessly for months in order to help the grandmother's cause.
Kardashian first came across the plight of 63-year-old Johnson in late October when she saw a Mic video about her life posted on Twitter. After her meeting with the president, Kim said that he was “compassionate. He was sympathetic to her.”
“I was very focused. I knew that if I have this meeting, I can’t go in there and talk about all the policies that I don’t agree with,” she said. “I knew people wouldn’t understand it. And at that point, I had to make the decision that this was bigger than me.”
And it was this decision that has ensured that grandmother Johnson is happier than ever. She is seen doing a little dance every time she appears on morning TV shows, confident that she will not waste her chance at a new life. After her release from a federal prison in Alabama on Wednesday, Johnson knows that others who are incarcerated by the state may not be as fortunate.
"I feel that I owe it to the people that I left behind. Their voices have not been magnified the way that my voice is," she said. "So, I'm going to work hard to make a difference. I hope that as people see my success story back into society, that it will help others to be set free."
"I will never forget having that door slam shut behind me, and knowing that freedom had just been cut off," she said. "It took me just a moment, but I realized that I had to, I had to, get a grip even on my emotions, and I decided to turn it around and make the best of the situation because I refused to allow anything to take my life."
The 63-year-old has vowed to do whatever she can to push for sentencing reform for non-violent, first-time offenders. She urges them: "Do not give up your hope."
"Continue to make the best of the situation, because you never know when something is going to change," Johnson said. "I feel the winds of change coming in prison reform, and just to be prepared to walk out that door."