In 2018, President Donald Trump commuted the life sentence being served by Alice Marie Johnson, a 65-year-old Black grandmother who had already served 22 years following a conviction on a first-time, non-violent drug offense.
On Friday, after Johnson delivered a moving speech about her second chance at life at the Republican National Convention, President Trump surprised her with an invite to the White House where he issued a full pardon for Johnson, wiping her record clean.
“And we’re giving Alice a full pardon. I just told her. We didn’t even discuss it,” Trump said. “We just — you were out there; I saw you in the audience last night. And I asked the folks if you could bring Alice over, and we’re going to give a full pardon. We’re going to do it right now.”
“That means you have been fully pardoned. That’s the ultimate thing that can happen. That means you can do you whatever you want in life. And just keep doing the great job you’re doing,” he added.
After signing the pardon, for which Johnson was visibly grateful while fighting back tears, the president turned to Pastor Robert Jeffress — who was at the White House for unrelated reasons — to say a prayer of blessing, which he was more than happy to do.
“I’m not a prop”
Incredibly, on Thursday night, after Johnson gave her RNC speech, Politico tweeted that Johnson had been “propped up” as a beneficiary of the president’s mercy and criminal justice reform efforts — implying that she was allowing herself to be used as nothing more than a prop for the Trump administration.
Politico’s tweet received swift blowback from the right, not to mention from Johnson herself, who spoke up to declare that she was no “prop.”
During an appearance Friday morning on “Fox & Friends” — prior to receiving the full pardon — Johnson said she was glad to get the chance to speak and “give hope to prisoners and talk about how important criminal justice reform is.”
“I’m not a prop and I’m not a puppet,” she said. “I make my own choices as to what I’d like to do.”
“What amazes me about the things that are being said is that another former prisoner spoke at the DNC [Democratic National Convention] last week, and she was not called a prop for choosing to speak there, yet I don’t have the choice to speak where I want to,” she added.