Donald Trump told Kim Kardashian that she and husband Kanye West are boosting his popularity among African Americans, despite the fact that Kardashian openly campaigned against him — and for Hillary Clinton — during the 2016 presidential election.
News of Trump’s conversation comes on the heels of the 45th president giving an audience to Kardashian in the Oval Office to discuss prison reform in general, and to appeal for a presidential pardon for Alice Marie Johnson specifically. The 62-year-old Black grandmother is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole — she has already been in prison for over 20 years — after being convicted for a non-violent drug offense, which Kardashian and other celebrities believe is unjust punishment.
Trump was reportedly not moved by Kardashian’s plea to free Johnson, the Washington Post surmised, as he talked publicly about possibly pardoning businesswoman Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The day after meeting with Kardashian, Trump gave a full pardon to conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza. Trump failed to even mention Johnson’s name during that press conference.
Last month, Trump publicly praised West for his support and for saying he and the president “are both dragon energy.” Trump later credited the West tweet with raising his approval rating among African Americans, a group that has shown little support for the president.
“Kanye West must have some power because you probably saw I doubled my African American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week,” Trump said May 4 at the National Rifle Association’s annual conference in Dallas.
Trump was referencing a Reuters weekly tracking poll, in which Black male approval of Trump doubled from 11 percent the week ending April 22 to 22 percent for the week ending April 29, 2018.
Reuters cautioned conservatives against throwing a parade just yet; Reuters considers the number of African American respondents to those weekly polls too small a sample to really be reliable.
Monthly data from the poll says Trump support among African Americans overall rose from 12 percent in April to 18 percent in May.
Among Black men, the president’s approval rose from 16 percent in April to 22 percent in May, according to the Post.