MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The Super Bowl is the most expensive TV time money can buy. President Trump’s latest campaign ad featured the moment former inmate and Memphian Alice Marie Johnson reunited with her family after Trump commuted her sentence. Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee said reminding people of what he did for her was a political opportunity.
Johnson was sentenced to life behind bars for drug ring leader in the Mid-South. In June 2018, with the help of celebrity Kim Kardashian, Johnson was freed from prison after Trump commuted her sentence.
“That commercial wasn’t for African Americans,” Weathersbee said. “He wants people to think it was.”
Weathersbee was skeptical of the ad when she first watched it during the Super Bowl. She said prison reform is an important issue to the African American community, but that’s not all.
“It kind of defines the African American experience through the prism of victim hood like all we care about is prison reform,” Weathersbee said.
Weathersbee said Trump’s tweet of the ad showed what he wanted to voters to see; a president who cares. Trump tweeted he is fulfilling his “promise to restore hope in America.”
“He’s an opportunist in the sense that he realizes in this political moment that he has to show a better face to communities of color,” Weathersbee said.
She said Trump needs to be more consistent with the message he wants to send targeting minorities. Weathersbee also noted those might not be the voters he is targeting at all.
“Undecided voters, mostly white people who don’t want to believe he’s a bigot and say to people he’s not a bigot because look what he did for Alice Marie Johnson,” Weathersbee said.