Last week, at the request of one Kim Kardashian West, President Trump commuted the life sentence of a non-violent drug dealer Alice Marie Johnson. Johnson had served 21 years.
Now the president wants to keep the ball rolling, as it were.
U.S. President Donald Trump held out an olive branch in his feud with National Football League players on Friday, asking them for recommendations as he considers pardoning several thousand people who may have been unfairly treated by the criminal justice system. (…)
On Friday, speaking to reporters before leaving for a Group of Seven summit in Canada, Trump challenged those players, the majority of whom are African-American, to advise him on employing his pardon power. He said his staff was examining some 3,000 cases of people who might deserve clemency.
“I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me, because that’s what they’re protesting – people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that,” Trump said. “They’ve seen a lot of abuse and they’ve seen a lot of unfairness.”
I’m told that this is classic Art of the Deal, which I have downloaded from the LA Public Library. It’s also giving me some Ferengi Rules of Acquisition vibes. (Deep Space Nine fans will understand.)
Whatever way this plays out, this is a win-win situation for the president. And, even if no ballplayers send him a list, other prominent people probably will – a potential win for some deserving prisoners who have behaved well while paying their debt to society or for those who have been unjustly imprisoned.
But some observers are grumbling.
“His suggestion that he might bring NFL players into the pardon process must be viewed as nothing less than a cynical, self-serving ploy to create a photo op with NFL players, many of whom have made it clear that they would not be caught standing downwind from him, much less next to him,” said Harry Edwards, a sociologist and longtime civil rights activist at the University of California at Berkeley. (…)
“This is just another attempt to divert attention and, of course, it places Donald Trump as the master of everything, just appeal to me personally and I’ll let your friends out or maybe I will pardon them,” said Jeffrey Robinson, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
One would think that Longtime Civil Rights Activists and Venerable Civil Liberties Organizations would care more about injustice being rectified more than who gets the credit for the rectification.
Unless it was all about the Look At Me moral narcissism and preening for them – and for the pro ballplayers — in the first place.
Nah, couldn’t be that.
Snark aside, I do hope that some ballplayers have enough integrity and perspective to accept the president’s offer.
We need some healing in this country.
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