President Donald Trump said Friday that Americans could expect more pardons from him in the coming days and that he was strongly considering a posthumous one for boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
“There will be more pardons. I thought Alice yesterday was beautiful,” said Trump, referring to first-time nonviolent drug offender Alice Marie Johnson whose sentence he commuted after an appeal by Kim Kardashian West.
“I’m thinking about someone you all know very well. He went through a lot … His memory is very popular now. I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali. I am thinking about that very seriously.”
As the president took questions from reporters at the White House before departing to the G-7 summit in Quebec, he also said that he was ruling out former football player and convicted felon O.J. Simpson from consideration for presidential clemency.
“No, I’m not thinking about O.J.” said Trump to a reporter. “Only you could say O.J.”
As president, Trump has an unfettered right to grant pardons and commutations to Americans convicted of federal offenses. In addition to Johnson, Trump has also granted pardons to Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, and boxer Jack Johnson.
Muhammad Ali was convicted in 1967 of draft evasion after refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong,” he said at the time. The conviction saw Ali banned from boxing for three years, received a $10,000 fine and an initial sentence of five years, though he managed to avoid jail time after an appeal.
It’s unclear whether the pardon is even necessary, as Ali’s conviction was thrown out by the Supreme Court in 1971.
The boxer died in 2016 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.