Unlike the late boxing champion Jack Johnson, President Trump has a personal history with the latest people he’s considering pardoning. Trump on Thursday said that he was thinking about commuting the prison sentence for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and issuing a presidential pardon to entrepreneur Martha Stewart, two former Apprentice participants.
Before Blagojevich was convicted of corruption charges, he was competing for glory on Trump’s show, The Celebrity Apprentice. Shortly after Stewart went to jail for insider trading, she hosted a spinoff series of Trump’s franchise, called The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.
Blagojevich was sadly eliminated in week 4 of Celebrity Apprentice back in 2010, in part because he failed to accurately recite facts about Harry Potter. Rock of Love star Bret Michaels ultimately went on to win the season. Trump apparently felt bad for Blagojevich after he was convicted, especially since he had such a soft spot for him while he was competing on Trump’s show. “You have a hell of a lot of guts, I have to tell you that,” Trump told Blagojevich on Celebrity Apprentice. “You’re out there punching, so I respect that.”
Stewart, on the other hand, bounced back from her prison sentence by hosting her own version of the business competition show, though it only ran for one season. Trump and Stewart apparently got along swimmingly, making “one of The Donald’s favorite meals, meatloaf” while merrily cooking with first lady Melania Trump on Stewart’s show. Stewart lamented that she was “otherwise occupied” and had to decline her invitation to the Trumps’ “gorgeous wedding.” Trump’s suggestion of clemency today is a far cry from their later feud, in which he said putting Stewart in the Apprentice franchise was “a mistake for everybody.” Summer Meza