Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!
First LGBT Forum EVER at @NC GOP HQ – Trump Pardons Jack Johnson – Gang of 8 & SPYGATE – MAGA FIRST NEWS MAY 24th 2018
Written by Peter Boykin on May 24, 2018
Trump posthumously pardons Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion
President Trump on Thursday granted a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, after being urged to do so by “Rocky” star Sylvester Stallone.
“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony.
Johnson, born in Galveston, Texas, was the target of racial resentment, particularly after he defeated white boxer James Jeffries in the 1910 “Fight of the Century,” a bout that sparked race riots.
Three years later, he was convicted by an all-white jury of violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport a woman across state lines for “immoral” purposes.
In their efforts to prosecute Johnson, authorities first targeted Johnson’s relationship with the woman in question, Lucille Cameron, who later became his wife, but she refused to cooperate.
But they found another white witness, Belle Schreiber, to testify against him. Johnson fled the country after his conviction, but he agreed years later to return and serve a 10-month jail sentence. He died in 1946.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been calling for a pardon for Johnson since 2004, and criticized President Barack Obama for leaving office in 2017 without having granted one. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had also called for a pardon.
“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a shameful stain on our nation’s history,” McCain said in a statement in January 2017.
Stallone, as well as Johnson’s great-great niece, had urged Trump to pardon him and in April Trump said that Stallone had called him about it.
“[Johnson’s] trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”
Stallone was in the Oval Office as a guest when Trump pardoned Johnson on Thursday, as was boxer Lennox Lewis.
Filmmaker Ken Burns, who was part of an effort to pardon Johnson, welcomed the move and called it “the right thing to do.
“I’m just so happy that Senator John McCain, who has led our efforts to achieve a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, has lived to witness this moment,” he said in a statement. “The pardon announced today helps correct an injustice experienced by Jack Johnson. But it also reminds us of a racist past and how even today racist remarks and coded words are used to imperil African Americans, especially Black men, and to advance an Un-American agenda.”
Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment; he was framed for embezzlement. President George W. Bush in 2008 pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Featured Articles From Fox First News
THE ‘GANG’ IS ALL HERE: FBI and Justice Department officials on Thursday will brief a bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the “Gang of 8” on classified documents related to the special counsel’s Russia investigation after they meet with two key House Republican lawmakers, Fox News has learned … The first meeting at Justice Department headquarters is scheduled to take place at noon ET and will include White House Chief of Staff John Kelly; Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; FBI Director Christopher Wray; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. The second meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m., will include Kelly, Rosenstein, Wray, Coats, Gowdy, Republican and Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate, and the top lawmakers from their intelligence panels.
Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told Fox News they plan to attend the second meeting. Warner is vice chairman of the Senate intelligence panel. The announcement of a second meeting came after criticism from Democrats who said the briefing should have been given to the “Gang of 8” as opposed to just Nunes and Gowdy.
- ‘Spygate’: Trump blasts ‘Criminal Deep State’
‘SPYGATE’: Trump blasts ‘Criminal Deep State’ amid reports of FBI informant spying on campaign
President Trump blasted the “Criminal Deep State” early Wednesday, suggesting things have “turned around” in “SPYGATE,” following revelations of a reported FBI informant snooping on the Trump campaign.
“Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Minutes later, the president added: “SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”
The president’s tweets come after reports that an FBI informant communicated with at least three members of his campaign—Foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, Trump aide Carter Page and campaign adviser Sam Clovis.
Trump then went on to quote former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who discussed the issue of an FBI informant Tuesday during ABC’s “The View.”
“’Trump should be happy that the FBI was SPYING on his campaign’ No, James Clapper, I am not happy. Spying on a campaign would be illegal, and a scandal to boot!” Trump tweeted.
The Justice Department instructed its inspector general to investigate any alleged “impropriety or political motivation” in the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election, following demands from Trump.
“I hereby demand and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes—and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the president tweeted Sunday.
Earlier this week, the president met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray in the Oval Office, discussing the expansion of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation to include “irregularities” with the FBI or DOJ’s “tactics concerning the Trump campaign.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also said that during the meeting, the three agreed that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly would “immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”
That meeting is slated for Thursday and will be with House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Kelly will not attend the meeting — his role was simply to coordinate.
“If they had spies in my campaign…for political purposes, that would be unprecedented,” Trump said Tuesday during a meeting in the Oval Office with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, calling it a “disgrace.”
“I hope there weren’t,” Trump said. “[If there were], it would make every political event ever before look like small potatoes.”