Donald Trump suggested Friday morning that he was seriously thinking about issuing a pardon for legendary and late boxer Muhammad Ali. “He was not very popular then; his memory is very popular now,” Trump told reporters. “I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali. I’m thinking about that very seriously.”
Pres. Trump considering additional pardons, including late boxing icon Muhammad Ali: "I'm thinking about that very seriously, and some others… but I am thinking about Muhammad Ali." https://t.co/mbXMW7xJ7B pic.twitter.com/QyUERMSQ1a
— ABC News (@ABC) June 8, 2018
Trump is clearly trying to score points with minorities, but no one is falling for it. A family attorney for Muhammad Ali and his estate responded promptly Friday morning and said that Trump’s suggestion of a pardon was “unnecessary.”
“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary,” Ali attorney Ron Tweel said in a statement. “The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”
Ali, who passed in 2016, was sentenced to five years in prison on draft evasion charges for refusing to serve in the U.S. military in 1967 by citing religious objections. Ali never went to prison and in 1971 the Supreme Court overturned his conviction.
Trump is likely talking about pardons a lot to normalize them in the media. He is clearly thinking of pardoning his criminal compatriots who have been indicted by special counsel Mueller. He figures that if he keeps issuing pardons that get coverage, he can slip through the ones he really wants to give. But no one is going to fall for that, just like they aren’t now.