Alice Marie Johnson told “Fox & Friends” Friday she is not a “prop” in response to a Politico tweet that was hammered for its description of her speech at the Republican National Convention in support of President Trump, after being granted clemency while serving a life sentence.
“I’m not a prop and I’m not a puppet. I make my own choices as to what I’d like to do,” Johnson, a grandmother convicted of drug conspiracy and money laundering in 1996 and whose story caught the attention of Kim Kardashian, told co-host Ainsley Airhardt.
“What amazes me about the things that are being said is that another former prisoner spoke at the DNC [Democratic National Convention] last week, and she was not called a prop for choosing to speak there, yet I don’t have the choice to speak where I want to,” Johnson said.
Johnson said many at Trump’s acceptance speech were moved to tears by her story. Meanwhile, critics blasted Politico for a “racist headline” suggesting Johnson was being “propped up” by the Trump campaign as “one of the most prominent beneficiaries” of the First Step Act.
Almost six months after Trump commuted Johnson, he signed the First Step Act into law on Dec. 21, 2018.
The criminal justice reform advocate questioned the double standard, noting that she was very honored to be invited to speak Thursday night and “give hope to prisoners and talk about how important criminal justice reform is.”
Reacting to critics questioning the race of Sen. Tim Scott, who headlined the first night of the RNC, Johnson said, “Well, both Tim Scott and I were born Black and we’re going to die Black, and we are exercising our choice, and our right and our freedom to use our minds.”
After spending 22 years behind bars, Johnson simply said: “I am free.”
“I was in a very dark place, a very dark hopeless situation but I’d never lost my hope, and instead of turning inward, and being bitter about my situation, I decided to help the women who were there and not just myself but what I could do for others,” she added.
Since her release, Johnson has become a senior fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative and is now a published author. Johnson has said that she is committed to fighting “for criminal justice reform and for the women and men who are still incarcerated.”
In 2019, the president invited Johnson to his State of the Union address, where she received a standing ovation.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.