Three hours after canceling a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and minutes after rolling back major parts of the Dodd-Frank law, all while markets continue to swirl over possible import tariffs on foreign cars, President Trump took a moment to pardon legendary Jim Crow-era boxer Jack Johnson.
Trump, flanked by boxing royalty from Lennox Lewis to Deontay Wilder to Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, signed a full posthumous pardon for Johnson, a black boxer and former heavyweight champion. Trump last month credited Stallone, the actor who portrayed Rocky Balboa in the iconic film series, for urging Johnson’s pardon.
Johnson was convicted more than a century ago on racially tinged federal morals charges. The case has been derided for decades as shaky and motivated by racial animus from white Americans enraged by Johnson’s defeat of white boxers in the ring and relationships with white women out of it.
“I am taking this very righteous step i believe to correct a wrong that occurred in our history and honor a truly legendary boxing athlete,” Trump told the assembled crowd. “Jack Johnson was not treated fairly and we have corrected that.”