Trump floats possibility of pardoning Muhammad Ali

10 June, 2018, 18:06 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali spoke in Chicago in 1966

Donald Trump said on Friday that he may grant a posthumous pardon to Muhammad Ali, seemingly unaware that the great boxer's conviction was overturned by the supreme court 47 years ago.

Trump described Ali as "not very popular" at the time of his refusal to serve in the military during the Vietnam War.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House as he prepared to leave for the Group of Seven Summit in Quebec, Trump said he was thinking about pardoning someone who was "not very popular".

"The power to pardon is a attractive thing", he added.

"We appreciate President Trump's sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary", Ron Tweel, a lawyer for Ali's estate and family, said in a statement Friday.

Ali was sentenced to five years in prison for dodging the draft but never went to prison as he appealed his case to the US Supreme Court, which quashed the conviction in 1971. But in the current world, Trump bizarrely babbled today that he would "pardon" the legendary Muhammad Ali.

In addition, President Jimmy Carter pardoned all Vietnam War draft dodgers on January 21, 1977.

Still, it's curious that Trump would consider Ali for a pardon at all.


The former Cassius Clay died in 2016 at the age of 74 due to septic shock brought on by a respiratory illness.

He told reporters there are many cases similar to Johnson's where individuals have been treated unfairly by the justice system.

But does Ali need a posthumous pardon?

Last week, almost a decade after complaining about the casting of Khloe Kardashian on his Celebrity Apprentice reality TV series instead of her "hot" sister, Kim visited the White House to make the case for pardoning grandmother Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence on drug offenses.

Ali would be the second boxer that Trump has posthumously pardoned this term.

Last year, the president commuted the sentence of an Iowa kosher meatpacking executive who had been sentenced to 27 years in prison for money laundering.

It's awkward because it would create an uncomfortable comparison - Ali's conviction in his boxing prime for taking a moral stand against the draft contrasts with the multiple deferments, including one for heel spurs, that Trump received.

"I knew people wouldn't understand it". "This was all spontaneous and I think, as a lot of people like to say, impulsive".

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