On Thursday, Kim Kardashian sat down with Alice Marie Johnson, the 63-year-old woman whose life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug charge has been commuted, in their first joint interview since Kardashian helped secure Johnson’s release from prison last week. President Trump’s pardon came several days after Kardashian paid a very public visit to the White House to advocate on Johnson’s behalf.
“It became this mission that I just didn’t want to give up,” Kardashian said in the Today show interview. “I mean, I think to some people it might seem like, ‘Okay, Kim made a phone call to the president, showed up.’ We had been in talks and working on this for seven months. And it wasn’t this instant thing.”
When Johnson heard about Kardashian’s initial efforts, she had never heard Kardashian’s name before and had to do some research. “I started getting every magazine I could find. I started reading everything I could about her, and everyone was amazed, and I was amazed, too,” she said.
Kardashian first became aware of Johnson’s story from a viral video on social media, which she retweeted before reaching out to her attorney for advice. The first step was a call with Ivanka Trump. “We had a really great conversation about women and wanting to help each other,” Kardashian said. “And I knew that she would have understood Alice, and she immediately was so receptive and so great.”
Upon entering the Oval Office to meet with Trump, Kardashian recounted, she prefaced her discussion of criminal justice with a reality TV throwback: “I first said that I am here because I really want to know why you kicked Khloe off The Apprentice,” she said. But once Kardashian got to talking about Johnson, Trump seemed amenable to her appeal. “I explained to him where I found her, why I believe in her, how people deserve second chances,” she said. “The president had compassion for her right away. He felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Several days later, (but not before issuing a pardon to Dinesh D’Souza), Trump commuted Johnson’s life sentence. It was Kardashian who got to break the news to her. “I believe she said, ‘You can go home. You can go home now. Are you ready to go home?’” Johnson said, recalling the emotional day. “I went into full-fledged Pentecostal holy dance. I started screaming and jumping.”
Despite the success of Kardashian’s quest, she said that she’s not interested in further immersing herself in political affairs. “People have been asking me, ‘Are you getting into politics?’ Like no. I'm still doing me. But I enjoy this,” she said. “This has fulfilled my heart, and so since I feel so fulfilled, why would I stop that?”