President Trump is facing backlash for his Super Bowl LIV commercial in which he takes credit for Kim Kardashian West’s work advocating for Alice Marie Johnson—now a criminal justice reform advocate—to be released from prison.
West enlisted the help of a team of lawyers to work on Johnson’s case, which led to an Oval Office meeting with Trump in 2018. Johnson served 21 years of a life sentence in prison after she was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine, according to the nonprofit Can-Do.
President Trump granted clemency to Johnson a week after West pleaded her case during the 2018 Oval Office meeting. “Thanks to President Trump, people like Alice are getting a second chance,” Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign commercial reads. “Politicians talk about criminal justice reform. President Trump got it done. Thousands of families are being reunited.”
His comments ignited criticism on Twitter, with people pointing out Trump’s dismal record on racial justice and family reunification. In 2017, the president defended lethal white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia by noting there were “very fine people on both sides” of the deadly rally. Last year, Trump doubled down on those remarks, and also praised Confederate leader Robert E. Lee as “one of the great generals.”
Former Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-SC) reacted to Trump’s commercial on Twitter, saying, “That ad was offensive AF,” adding, “The “I freed a Negro” ad.”
Meanwhile, U.S. immigration authorities have separated more than 5,400 children from their families at the Mexico border since Trump took office in 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union reported in October 2019. The administration reportedly separated 1,090 children even after a federal judge in San Diego ordered that children in government custody be reunited with their parents.
West wrote the foreword to Johnson’s memoir, After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom released in 2019: “You have helped me find an incredible new sense of purpose, and I am so grateful for that,” she wrote.