Alice Johnson praises Trump for First Step Act, urges compassion for ‘forgotten faces’
Alice Johnson, a woman who had been sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense, praised President Trump at the Republican National Convention Thursday for commuting her sentence and signing the bipartisan criminal justice reform First Step Act.
“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.”
Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence in 2018 at the urging of Kim Kardashian-West, a justice reform advocate.
“Some say, ‘You do the crime. You do the time.’ However, that time should be fair and just,” Johnson said. “We’ve all made mistakes, and none of us want to be defined forever based on our worst decision.”
Johnson credited her Christian faith and Trump’s “compassion” for her release, but urged empathy for those in similar circumstances she met in prison.
“I’m using my voice to tell their stories. And I pray that my face reminds you of those forgotten faces,” she said.
“I pray that you will not just hear this message, but that you will be inspired by my story, and your compassion will lead you to take action for those who are forgotten,” she concluded. “That’s what our President, Donald Trump, did for me. And, for that, I will be forever grateful.”
Johnson’s remarks came in contrast to several other speakers that evening, who conveyed a stringent law-and-order message and decried Democrats as soft on crime.
While Trump’s campaign has accused Democratic nominee Joe Biden of being anti-police, it has also blasted his support for “tough on crime” policies in the 1990s that disproportionately affected Black Americans. Since Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, it has similarly attacked her record as California attorney general.
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