Trump considers pardoning Muhammad Ali, late boxer’s lawyer says no need
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he is thinking “very seriously” about pardoning the late Muhammad Ali, an act of clemency that the boxer’s lawyer says is unnecessary because the Supreme Court overturned the heavyweight champion’s conviction in 1971.
And for such future grants of presidential power, Trump said he may seek the recommendations of pro football players and other athletes who have protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.
“What I’m going to do is I’m going to say to them, instead of talk — it’s all talk, talk, talk....I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system,” he said.
“I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about and I’m going to take a look at those applications.”
The president said the athletes have “seen a lot of abuse” and “a lot of unfairness” and that he wants their input on his use of this executive power.
Speaking as he left the White House for a world leaders’ summit in Canada, Trump also that he’s considering thousands of additional pardons, including one for the boxing great.
“I’m thinking about somebody that you all know very well. And he went through a lot. And he wasn’t very popular then,” Trump said. “He certainly, his memory is very popular now.”
It was not immediately clear why Trump cited Ali as in need of a pardon, given that Ali has no criminal record.
The Supreme Court overturned his conviction for resisting the draft in 1971.
“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary,” said Ron Tweel, Ali’s lawyer.
Given the high court’s action, “there is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about why the president feels one is warranted.