President Trump may grant a pardon to the Greatest of All Time.
Trump, who has already commuted the sentences of six people since taking office 16 months ago, mentioned in passing Friday that he’s considering pardoning Muhammad Ali.
“I'm thinking about somebody that you all know very well, and he went through a lot. And he wasn't very popular then,” Trump said as he left the White House en route to the G7 summit in Canada. “His memory is very popular now. I'm thinking about Muhammad Ali. I'm thinking about that seriously.”
But it’s unclear what exactly Trump would be pardoning Ali for, considering his conviction for dodging conscription during the Vietnam War was overturned.
“I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong,” Ali said at the time.
In 1967, shortly after converting to Islam, Ali refused to be drafted into the U.S. Army. He was stripped of his heavyweight title and convicted of draft evasion. After appealing, his conviction was overturned in 1971 by the Supreme Court
“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary,” Ali’s longtime lawyer and friend Ron Tweel said in a statement. “The U.S Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”
Ali died two years ago after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The potential pardon would add to the growing list of celebrities whose records Trump has expunged.
Last month, Trump posthumously pardoned pugilist Jack Johnson, the country's first African-American heavyweight champion.
The pardon stemmed from the President's friendship with Sylvester Stallone, who famously portrayed the fictional fighter "Rocky Balboa."
Trump has also floated the idea of pardoning disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart. Blagojevich’s attorneys filed an official request Wednesday asking Trump to commute his 14-year sentence on corruption charges.
Most Presidents wait until the end of their terms to issue pardons.
Last week, Trump pardoned conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance violations.
Earlier this week, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, a woman serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense whose cause was championed last week by Kim Kardashian West during a visit to the Oval Office. Johnson, 63, was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 1996 for her role in a cocaine-trafficking operation in Tennessee.
During his exchange with reporters on Friday, Trump was asked if he was considering pardoning former football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, but was convicted in 2008 of kidnapping and armed robbery for his role in a Las Vegas break in.
“No, I’m not talking about O.J.,” Trump said.