In Depth

Why Kim Kardashian West went to the White House

The reality TV star’s surprise summit with Trump focused on prison reforms

Much of the world’s attention has been on the potential meeting between the US president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but a summit with a different Kim took place at the White House yesterday. 

Kim Kardashian West visited fellow former reality TV star Donald Trump to talk about prison reform, and to ask for the Alice Marie Johnson to be pardoned, The Guardian reports. 

Johnson is a 63-year-old Tennessee woman who, according to the Can-Do (Clemency for All Non-violent Drug Offenders) foundation, was sentenced in 1996 to life in prison on charges related to cocaine possession and money laundering.

Brittany Barnett, a member of Johnson’s legal team, told The New York Times that Kardashian West was scheduled to meet with a group of White House officials, including the president’s son-in law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Kushner “has led a White House effort to build support for legislation that would help prisoners as they re-enter society and better develop work skills while they are incarcerated”, says Time.

But some critics of the campaign say it doesn’t go far enough and are calling on lawmakers “to include reductions in sentencing guidelines, a step opposed by the White House and the Justice Department”, the magazine adds.

“It was very general,” Barnett said of the meeting. “We just don’t know, but it seems like the meeting was positive, and it is in President Trump’s hands now as to what he decides to do.”

Trump, a former judge on the US version of The Apprentice, later tweeted that it had been a “great meeting”, and said that he and Kardashian West had discussed “prison reform and sentencing”.

Kardashian West told news website Mic that a video it made about Johnson’s case had inspired her to get involved.

“There was a reason why I was looking at my Twitter at that moment,” Kardashian West said of the moment when she first saw the video. “I was meant to come across it.”

Following her meeting with Trump, she issued a statement that said: “We are optimistic about Ms Johnson’s future and hopeful that she - and so many like her - will get a second chance at life.” 

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