President Donald Trump signed a full pardon on Friday for prison reform advocate Alice Johnson the day after she spoke at the Republican National Convention (RNC).
“We’re taking Alice from a commutation to a full pardon,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon.
“I’m excited right now, and we’re very proud about the job you’ve done and what you represent,” the president said.
In 2018, Trump granted Johnson a commutation from her life sentence after she served 21 years for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. But on Friday, he announced that he believed she deserved a full pardon.
Trump said he did not discuss the idea prior to her convention speech on Thursday night but that he was inspired after he spotted her in the audience the night of his convention speech at the White House.
“I just told her. We didn’t even discuss it. We just — you were out there,” Trump said to Johnson. “I saw you in the audience last night, and I asked the folks if you could bring Alice over. We’re going to give a full pardon.”
The president did not campaign on the issue of criminal justice reform but was inspired on the issue after celebrity Kim Kardashian visited him at the White House to discuss it. With the support of a bipartisan coalition, Trump signed the First Step Act in December 2018.
During her RNC speech Thursday night, Johnson thanked the president for his mercy.
“I was once told that the only way I would ever be reunited with my family would be as a corpse,” Johnson said. “But by the grace of God and the compassion of President Donald John Trump, I stand before you tonight, and I assure you, I’m not a ghost. I am alive, I am well, and most importantly, I am free.”
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