President Trump Thanks Kanye West for His 'Nice Words' as Criminal Justice Reform Becomes Law
The president, 72, kicked off the weekend by praising the 41-year-old “Jesus Walks” rapper on Twitter. His messages came just four days after West reaffirmed his unwavering love for Trump on the popular social media platform.
“Thank you to Kanye West for your nice words,” Trump wrote.
He then went on to reference the First Step Act, bipartisan federal criminal justice reform legislation he signed into law last month, which West had so passionately pushed.
“Criminal Justice Reform is now law,” Trump wrote in his tweet Saturday, adding that it was “passed in a very bipartisan way!”
West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, has also been vocal about the issue, having first met with the president to discuss the topic at the White House back in May. Those conversations led the former Celebrity Apprentice host to commute the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who was given a life sentence for a first-time nonviolent drug offense after she helped facilitate communications in a drug trafficking case. She was released from a federal prison in Aliceville, Alabama, on June 6, after serving her sentence for more than 20 years.
Another non-violent offender, Matthew Charles, was one of the first prisoners to be released under the First Step Act — which aims to give judges increased leeway in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes as well as improve rehabilitation programs for former inmates.
The Tennessee grandfather, who made national headlines in 2018 after he was resentenced and sent back to prison two years after a judged ruled his sentence was unfair, was on Thursday released from a Kentucky prison where he been for the last seven months.
Charles’ rollercoaster case traces back to the mid-’90s, when he was convicted of distributing crack cocaine and related charges, court records show.
He initially served 21 years of a 35-year sentence but was later ordered on appeal to return to prison and complete his term, according to defense filings reviewed by PEOPLE.
His release also had Kardashian West singing Trump’s praises. “Just got word that Matthew Charles will be coming home within 24 hours,” the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star and KKW beauty owner, 38, tweeted on Thursday. “Thank you @realDonaldTrump for signing the 1st step act. This is what true bipartisanship can accomplish.”
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In October, West and Trump discussed several issues — including talk tax cuts, prison reform, mental health and racism — during a meeting at the White House that was later spoofed on Saturday Night Live.
On Jan. 2, West — who has long been outspoken about his love for the president — wrote a series of gushing tweets about Trump, beginning with a simple message of loyalty: “Trump all day.”
He followed it up by tweeting three dragon emojis (West previously said that he and President Trump were “both dragon energy” and called him “my brother”) and clarified to his followers, “Just so in 2019 you know where I stand.”
West continued his political rant with two more tweets. “They will not program me,” he wrote. “Blacks are 90% Democrats. That sounds like control to me.”
He finally wrapped up his rant with three last tweets, making it clear yet again that he intended to support Trump throughout his presidency. “From now on I’m performing with my mutherf—ing hat on,” West wrote alongside three dragon emojis, referencing his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, which he wears frequently.
Meanwhile, a source told PEOPLE in October that Kardashian West doesn’t agree politically with Trump, but maintains her positive relationship with the president to lobby for what she wants.
“Kim did not support Trump, and her family didn’t support him,” the insider told PEOPLE. “But, she knows that she has a very rare opportunity to have the ear of the president, and she has some things that she’s very passionate about, and is willing to meet with him to talk about the things she believes.”