A number of news outlets reported on Wednesday that the two reality TV stars would meet, then Trump confirmed it on his Twitter account. Trump tweeted a picture taken in the Oval Office with Kardashian, who has been advocating for criminal justice reform for the last year.
“Great meeting with [Kim Kardashian] today, talked about prison reform and sentencing,” Trump announced on Twitter.
Kardashian, who has built an empire around her family’s reality show, has recently been more engaged in politics. The 37-year-old businesswoman’s interest in criminal justice seems to have been sparked by a number of high-profile cases of controversial sentences against women.
Last year, Kardashian enlisted her legal team to aid in an effort to free Cyntoia Brown. Brown, now 30, was convicted of the 2004 murder of a 43-year-old man who she claimed raped her after she was sex-trafficked at 16 years old. The case elicited widespread outrage when Brown was given a life sentence without eligibility for parole for 51 years.
“The system has failed,” Kardashian tweeted in November. “It’s heartbreaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this.”
Kardashian has also advocated for Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense.
“Happy Birthday Alice Marie Johnson,” Kardashian tweeted on Wednesday. “Today is for you.”
Johnson was sentenced in 1996 for helping in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring, something Johnson said she became involved with after she lost her job and was unable to support her family. In an op-ed titled “Why Kim Kardashian Thinks I Should Be Released From Prison” for CNN, Johnson wrote that her life “began to spiral out of control” after the loss of her son and her divorce.
Kardashian has pushed for months on social media for Johnson to receive clemency.
“I made the biggest mistake of my life to make ends meet and got involved with people selling drugs,” Johnson wrote in her CNN piece. “This was a road I never dreamed of venturing down. I became what is called a telephone mule, passing messages between the distributors and sellers. I participated in a drug conspiracy, and I was wrong.”
After meeting with Trump, Kardashian posted her thoughts about Johnson’s future on Twitter:
Trump’s meeting with Kardashian incited a debate on social media on why a reality star was the person to advocate for prison reform at the White House. Ava DuVernay, who directed “13th,” a 2016 documentary on mass incarceration, addressed the meeting in a series of tweets along with clips from her film.
“I’m down for anyone who can make positive change in a positive way to give it a try. Notes for Kim. Part 1,” DuVernay tweeted.
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