Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump, a story of love, hate and rude phone calls

A book by journalist Jonathan Karl claims that the former president asked for ‘quid pro quo’ from the reality TV star in exchange for pardoning Alice Marie Johnson

Donald Trump and  Kim Kardashian
Donald Trump listens to Kim Kardashian's speech at the White House on June 13, 2019.Sarah Silbiger (Bloomberg)
María Porcel

Both are controversial, ubiquitous and divisive. But that’s where the similarities between Kim Kardashian, 43, and Donald Trump, 77, end. As the media stars that they are, the two have been able to take advantage of each other for their own gain. That is, until their obvious differences caused this tenuous relationship to fall apart. Now, a new book on Donald Trump has offered more details about the relationship between the former president and the media personality. And friendly is not the word to describe it.

Journalist Jonathan Karl, a veteran ABC News correspondent for the White House, has just published Tired of Winning, a book which documents the former president’s journey from losing to Joe Biden in the 2020 election until today, when he has become the front-runner to win the Republican presidential nomination. Among the anecdotes included in its more than 330 pages are Trump’s meetings and disagreements with Kardashian.

Kardashian and Trump have known each other for years, but their relationship grew closer in 2018. At the time, she was married to musician and designer Kanye West, from whom she separated in January 2021. She was also studying law with the intention of becoming a lawyer, and one of her main causes was to pardon people who had been in prison for years serving long sentences for committing nonviolent crimes.

At the end of May 2018, Kardashian met with Trump, then president, at the White House on the invitation of his son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner. At the meeting, they discussed a possible pardon for a 63-year-old Black woman named Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for cocaine possession and money laundering. By 2018, she had already served 22 years of her sentence. Just a week after meeting with Kardashian, Trump made the controversial decision to pardon Johnson.

In June 2019, Kardashian returned to Washington to speak with the president and this time gave a press conference at the White House about improving the U.S. prison system. However, they were never seen together again. As Karl recounts in his book, Trump wanted to take advantage of the celebrity’s immense following, and while the billionaire businesswoman agreed to help, things did not work out the way either of them intended.

“A source familiar with the conversations tells me Trump listened to her requests and demanded a straight-up quid pro quo. He would grant the commutations, he told Kardashian, if she leveraged her celebrity connections to get football stars who were friends of hers to come visit him at the White House,” the journalist writes in an excerpt published by Axios. “Kardashian actually tried to do what Trump demanded, seeing it as a small price to pay to get justice for people she believed were serving unjust sentences. But all the players she approached declined. Trump had become too toxic. In the final two weeks of his presidency, nobody wanted to be anywhere near him.”

Karl’s book is focused on the last three years since Trump left the White House. During this period, when Trump had returned to his Florida Mar-a-Lago estate, Kardashian allegedly tried to contact the former president to help her with another pardon. He was quick to respond. “‘Hell no,’ the former president told her. He wouldn’t do it. ‘You voted for Biden and now you come asking me for a favor?’ Trump told her,” the book claims.

Although Kardashian did not announce who she was voting for in the 2020 elections, after Biden was declared the winner, she shared a photo of Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris with three blue heart emojis. “After a few more choice words, the line went dead. Trump had hung up on her.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian during an NBC event in New York on November 10, 2010.Mathew Imaging (WireImage)

Kardashian was never a big supporter of Donald Trump. In 2016, she made it clear that she was going to vote for Hillary Clinton: she posted photographs with Clinton with the message “President Hillary,” and wrote an op-ed on her website.

And Trump has been far from pleasant when speaking about the reality TV star. In a 2013 interview, the former president did not hesitate to criticize Kardashian’s body and her way of dressing — which have both made her a global icon. What’s more, he made these comments when she was pregnant with her first daughter: “She’s gotten a little bit large. I would say this, I don’t think you should dress like you weigh 120 pounds,” he told HLN’s Showbiz Tonight.

In June 2014, on The Howard Stern Show, Trump said he would “pass on both” Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, when asked who he thought was more beautiful. He added that he thought Kardashian’s bottom was too big. “It’s record-setting,” Trump said. “In the old days, they’d say she has a bad body.”

Karl’s book has not gone down well with Trump’s supporters, and there are still details yet to be revealed. In usual pugilist tone, a Trump campaign spokesperson denied the claims in the book. “Disgraceful and talentless John Carl is a back-bencher who could never get his own show for obvious reasons. Excerpts previously released from this ‘book’ have already been thoroughly debunked. This filth either belongs in the discount bargain bin in the fiction section of the bookstore or should be repurposed as toilet paper,” they said.

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