What a difference a decade makes! In 2008, reality star and hospitality tycoon Donald Trump was busy producing the Miss USA Pageant while another lesser-known reality star by the name of Kim Kardashian sifted through racks at DASH and wore T-shirts that read, “Obama For Change.”
Back then, you probably would have laughed at the image of Mr. Trump and Ms. Kardashian together inside the Oval Office, but that’s essentially what happened this Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Yes, Kardashian (entrepreneur, beauty mogul, mother of three) marched her way into the White House—clad in a Kris Jenner-esque black Vetements pantsuit and neon pumps—to meet with the man sitting in the highest office in the country, President Trump.
What for? How did we get here? Was Kanye involved? Is this a joke? It's not.
Kardashian has spent several months reassessing her life’s priorities and discovered a new passion: fighting for prison reform. In 2017, she stumbled upon the story of Alice Johnson, a 62-year-old grandmother who is currently serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense and has shown nothing but good behavior behind bars. Since, Kardashian’s been working with her lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, to help Johnson attain clemency, a special permission to be released that’s only granted by the president.
Which brings us to her White House meeting with Trump.
For the occasion, Kardashian wore an all-black pantsuit and a pair of bright green stilettos. She arrived solo, and reportedly didn’t need to be escorted by a publicist nor any close member of her inner circle. Keeping Up with the Kardashians cameras also weren't there. Her husband Kanye West, who’s previously met with Trump and who has recently supported him via the “Make America Great Again” hat, was nowhere to be seen.
It provided quite the sharp contrast from sporty, Spandex-like, and super casual Yeezy pieces she’s become obsessed with, and nothing like the body-hugging tight little dresses she was once best known for turning to.
It appears Kardashian wore this to remind White House staffers, Trump especially, that she means business. The star has vehemently supported Johnson’s cause for months, and previously confirmed having met with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband plus an adviser to Donald Trump. “Jared Kushner, who I’ve spoke to, has been really working on some criminal justice reform bills and I would love to sit and talk to them,” she told Mic earlier this month. “I know they are internally talking about it, so that’s such a huge step from where we started with that not even being on their radar.”
Vanity Fair first reported that Kardashian would interact with Trump in person. As they suggested, she may have an ally in Kushner, whose own father, Charles, spent time in federal prison camp and has actually rallied for the cause, supporting the First Step Act, a bipartisan bill that’s designed to help inmates reenter society easily, and benefit nonviolent offenders like Johnson with options outside of life imprisonment.
While convincing Kushner’s father-in-law to support Johnson may not be so easy, Kardashian does have history on her side. Just last week, the president pardoned the late Jack Johnson, a boxer who in 1913 was convicted of violating the Mann Act, which prohibited women from being transported between states for “immoral” reasons like prostitution. Sylvester Stallone and boxers Lennox Lewis and Deontay Wilder visited the Oval Office, asking Trump to posthumously pardon Johnson, explaining he was convicted mainly for being black. It worked.
Will Kardashian have such luck? Perhaps. Considering Trump’s friendly relationship with her husband, West, and his affinity for celebrities who treat him well, it’s likely. Hopefully, her outfit brings Johnson some justice, too.
Trump shared a photo of the two of them from the meeting in the Oval Office on Twitter writing, "Great meeting with @KimKardashian today, talked about prison reform and sentencing."
While Kardashian is there on serious business, she doesn't look too thrilled to be standing next to Trump. Even so, she took time to thank Trump right back over his favorite platform, Twitter.
"I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense," she wrote in a series of tweets. "We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she —and so many like her—will get a second chance at life."
Only time will tell if Kardashian's visit pays off.