Trump Super Bowl ad features former Alabama prisoner whose sentence he commuted
President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign aired a Super Bowl ad on Sunday night featuring Alice Marie Johnson, a woman who was sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent drug crime and then subsequently released by Trump after 21 years behind bars.
Johnson was held in Federal Correctional Institution, Aliceville in Pickens County, Alabama.
“My heart is just bursting with gratitude, I want to thank President Donald John Trump,” Johnson said midway through the 30-second spot, which aired in the first quarter of the big game.
The advertisement, which cost the campaign $5.6 million to air, also touts Trump’s criminal justice reform bill known officially as the First Step Act. That initiative increased investment in programs that reduce the risk for incarcerated people to end up back in prison. It further included some sentencing reforms and new practices for how to treat prisoners while in custody.
“Politicians talk about criminal justice reform. President Trump got it done,” read text on the screen at about the 14-second mark in the spot.
The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate, lacking only the votes of 12 Republican members. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) both voted in favor of the effort.
All of Alabama’s Republicans in Congress opposed the bill, including Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and current Senate candidate, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope). The bill also got mixed reviews from former Alabama senator and former Trump administration attorney general Jeff Sessions.
The piece drew praise on social media by some Republican political observers. Republican political consultant Mark Davin Harris noted in a tweet that “if DJT can break through above 12% in the African American vote it’s hard to see how he loses. That would pretty much guarantee NC PA WI and MI.”
The piece even won some concessions from CNN commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones, who has long been an advocate for criminal justice reform. “I prefer ads like this ANY day. Now I hope D’s run similar spots,” Jones said in a tweet.
“I’m free to hug my family, I’m free to start over,” Johnson added in the ad.
She also tweeted out a web version of the ad, which can be viewed below.
Two Super Bowls ago I was sitting in a prison cell.
Today I am a free woman and my story was featured in a Super Bowl Ad.
I will spend the rest of my life fighting for the wrongly and unjustly convicted!
God Bless America! pic.twitter.com/CGSyk54O37
— Alice Marie Johnson (@AliceMarieFree) February 3, 2020
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.