President Donald Trump Faces Backlash for Super Bowl 2020 Ad with Alice Marie Johnson
Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender, was released from prison after 21 years thanks to efforts from Kim Kardashian West
Donald Trump‘s Super Bowl LIV campaign commercial that featured Alice Marie Johnson, the woman who Kim Kardashian West helped free from prison after serving 21 years for a nonviolent drug offense, is drawing criticism for the president.
The commercial, which ran during Sunday night’s game as an advertisment for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, included an old clip of Johnson, 64, speaking to reporters after being released and crediting the president, 73, for her freedom.
“Alice Johnson was sentenced to serve life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense,” the commercial read. “Thanks to President Trump people like Alice are getting a second chance. Politicians talk about criminal justice reform. President Trump got it done. Thousands of families are being reunited.”
Johnson shared the advertisement on Twitter, writing, “Two Super Bowls ago I was sitting in a prison cell. Today I am a free woman and my story was featured in a Super Bowl Ad. I will spend the rest of my life fighting for the wrongly and unjustly convicted! God Bless America!”
Trump also tweeted out the video: “I promised to restore hope in America. That includes the least among us. Together, let’s KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” he wrote.
Kardashian West — who has remained close with the great-grandmother since her release from prison — also retweeted the advertisement and wrote, “So proud of you!!!! @AliceMarieFree.”
After the commercial aired, Trump was criticized by many on Twitter for taking credit for Kardashian West’s efforts to get Johnson out of prison.
“Anyone just realize how Kim K wasn’t recognized in the super bowl commercial about getting Alice Marie Johnson out of prison? Trump took all the credit,” one Twitter user said.
Wrote another, “I am not here for this BS Trump ad taking credit for @KimKardashian work with Alice Marie Johnson. Yes he had the final say but it was all thanks to Kim. #SuperBowl.”
Many also criticized Trump for using Johnson’s story as a political ad for the 2020 election.
“Granting Alice Marie Johnson clemency: good! Using the fact that you granted Alice Marie Johnson clemency in a Super Bowl ad to try to get re-elected: tacky af,” said Media Matters editor Parker Molloy.
Another wrote, “Trump actually put out a campaign ad taking all the credit for freeing Alice Marie Johnson. The ego!!! This yalls President?”
Other critics on Twitter took issue with all the things they said the ad left out, such as the Trump administration’s policy of separating families of migrants at the border and his controversial statements about white supremacists. “The gall and hypocrisy of this ad is hideous,” one user wrote.
Kardashian West first started campaigning for Johnson’s presidential pardon in 2018 after learning about the case online. Johnson was given a life sentence for a first-time nonviolent drug offense after she helped facilitate communications in a drug-trafficking case.
The star eventually met with Trump in Washington, D.C. to discuss prison reform and sentencing. On June 6, 2019, Johnson was released from a federal prison in Aliceville, Alabama, where she had been serving her sentence for more than 20 years.
“It became this mission that I just didn’t want to give up,” Kardashian West said of getting her legal team involved in Johnson’s case in a Today interview last year. “I think to some people it might seem like, ‘Okay, Kim made a phone call to the president.’ “
“Thank you is not big enough,” Johnson said of her gratitude for Kardashian West. “I think I have to walk my thank you out. I have to live it out, for her, for my family, for the supporters.”
And for Kardashian West, she said, “I hope maybe this inspires more people to talk to the people in power — that you can have an effect over them for the greater good of other people.”