Kim Kardashian West discussed the backlash to her White House visit and Kanye West’s brief relationship with President Donald Trump during an interview with Van Jones at Rolling Stone and Variety‘s Criminal Justice Reform Summit on Wednesday.
Over the past few years, Kardashian has become an advocate for criminal justice reform, and in June, she met with Trump and convinced him to commute the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who received life in prison for a first-time, non-violent cocaine trafficking charge. While many commended Kardashian’s efforts on behalf of Johnson, others criticized her for associating with Trump (in a previous CNN interview, Jones even asked Kardashian if Trump might have been using her). But Kardashian said she expected a backlash, and forged ahead nonetheless.
“When I outweighed the options of bad stories about me that would probably last a week in this news cycle, versus saving someone’s life, that wasn’t an option,” Kardashian said. “I will gladly go there and take the heat. Okay, if he’s gonna listen to me and he’s taking the meeting, maybe I can really get through to him and really explain to him. From meeting all of the people that I have met behind bars, I guarantee you, they don’t care who signs that clemency paper.”
While Kardashian’s White House visit undoubtedly caused a stir, even more controversial was her husband, Kanye West’s visit to the White House in October, which capped off a wild few weeks during which the rapper seemed to associate himself with an array of far-right provocateurs like Candace Owens. West has since distanced himself from Owens and, ostensibly, Trump, writing on Twitter that he realized he’d “been used to spread messages I don’t believe in.”
Kardashian spoke candidly about West’s relationship with Trump, saying West was drawn to the president’s personality more than his politics. She added that West “doesn’t know about the politics, so, I’ve educated him recently.”
She opened up about West’s intentions as well, saying, “What he fights for is the right to like what he wants to like. Even if it’s different from what you like. He never said, ‘Okay, I know what’s going on with immigration, and I know this and I know that.’ If he really knew, he would feel very compassionate about it. He never said that he supports that. I know it’s very confusing because when you see someone wearing a red hat you would think that they are supporting that. But he’s just fighting for free thought and freedom to like a person even if it’s not the popular decision.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Kardashian spoke about how the work of her late father, attorney Robert Kardashian, inspired her to embrace the cause of criminal justice reform, and why she remains a devoted advocate even after surviving an armed robbery herself.
“I don’t ever really have a victim mentality – I’m not saying that if that’s how you cope that’s not appropriate, I’m just saying, for me personally, I’ve never taken on that,” Kardashian said. “I’ve always tried to really, genuinely learn. And I feel like the way I was living my lifestyle – not that anyone should go through that — I learned so much from it that I’m ok with my experience… When you become a mom you change anyway, but I think when your life is at stake over material items, all of that stuff goes out the door. None of it matters.”