Reality television star Kim Kardashian West, who successfully pushed President Donald Trump to grant a pardon for a drug offender earlier this year, returned to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with senior aides as part of the administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform.
Kardashian West participated in a listening session on clemency and prison reform with several staffers, including the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
"The discussion is mainly focused on ways to improve that process to ensure deserving cases receive a fair review,” according to Hogan Gidley, White House deputy press secretary.
Among the others in attendance were CNN commentator Van Jones, Shon Hopwood, a lawyer who served time in prison for bank robbery and Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who has been instrumental in steering Trump’s Supreme Court picks, including Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearings have begun on Capitol Hill.
But the headliner was Kardashian West, who last visited the White House three months ago to press for a pardon for 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson. At the time, the reality star, dressed in black, posed for an instantly iconic — and seemingly somber — photo with Trump in the Oval Office, though there were no plans for her to meet with the president on Wednesday.
One week after Kardashian West’s visit, Trump granted Johnson clemency, freeing her from prison after a more than two-decade stint on drug charges.
“When I looked at Alice, I said we can’t just stop with one person. We have to change the laws,” Kardashian West said in a statement released by #cut50, a group that looks to reduce incarceration time.
Van Jones said, “When you have prominent people like Kim helping voiceless people behind bars — like Chris Young who she is advocating for today — that’s incredibly powerful.”
Kardashian West on Tuesday told “Wrongful Conviction” podcast host Jason Flom that she’s advocating for Young, who was sentenced to life without parole after being arrested for marijuana and cocaine possession.
“It’s so unfair. He’s 30 years old. He’s been in for almost 10 years,” she said.
Kardashian West later tweeted an image from the meeting, writing “It started with Ms. Alice, but looking at her and seeing the faces and learning the stories of the men and women I’ve met inside prisons I knew I couldn’t stop at just one. It’s time for REAL systemic change."