When best-selling author and BET reality TV star Angela Stanton-King received word on Tuesday that President Trump had just granted her a full pardon, she was literally overcome.
“I just started hyperventilating right at the airport,” she told Newsmax. “I was just crying like a baby. People thought someone had died.”
They rushed to get her a wheelchair; no one realized she was weeping with utter joy.
“I just had to sit there for a minute to digest it all,” Stanton-King told Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “…I always said that when I left this world, that would still be on my record.
“I just wanted to finally, truly be free. Today, hours before my birthday, it has happened for me … and I’m still in absolute disbelief, I’m in shock.”
There had been hints something was coming. Her longtime mentor, evangelist and Newsmax Insider Alveda King, the executive director of civil rights for the unborn with Priests for Life, had received a call a few days before from a senator informing her the president was working on Stanton-King’s pardon.
Then on Tuesday morning, the Alveda King Ministries founder was relaxing on her couch when she got a phone call.
“Could you take a call from the President of the United States?” the voice on the other end asked.
The niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. replied “Well, I’m fainting right now.”
The president said hello.
“Oh my gosh Mr. President,” she joked, “I need to get up off the floor, I just passed out.”
They shared a laugh and Trump said he was preparing a full pardon for Stanton-King.
Alveda King -- no relation -- considers Stanton-King her godchild in the sense that “God sent her to me, to guide and to help and to mentor.”
President Trump asked Alveda, ‘Is she a good person?”
The evangelist and pro-life warrior immediately replied, “Yes sir, really she is.”
“Good,” said Trump, “because I’m signing this pardon right now.”
She then heard the president telling an assistant to get a copy of the signed presidential pardon to Alveda King and Angela Stanton-King right away.
When he got back on the phone, Alveda King expressed her heartfelt gratitude.
“I said, ‘Wow, you really make promises, then you keep them.’”
“You get that,” Trump answered. “Everybody doesn’t, but you get it.”
Soon, King said, she was “just screaming.”
“Alveda,” the president laughed. “Alveda, I’m going to have to go now.’”
For Stanton-King, the pardon represented another amazing chapter in her life's extraordinary journey. After surviving a troubled childhood involving abuse, she got caught up in a stolen vehicle ring, and received a prison sentence. She was released in 2005.
“When I was released from prison 15 years ago,” she told Newsmax in an exclusive interview, “I was given a $25 check and a bus ticket and told to start my life over.
“I came home to four children, and I came home to two tombstones,” she said. “My mother was in one and my grandmother was in the other.
“They’d both passed away while I was in prison.
“After being released, my children and I had nowhere to go,” she explained. “We kind of drifted from shelter to shelter until we maxed out at the very last one.
“I was a convicted felon. No one wanted to give me a job, I couldn’t get any government assistance, and I couldn’t get any housing assistance.
“After they put us out of the last shelter we were able to stay in,” she recalled, “someone told me about a women’s and children’s crisis center that I could go to for help. So I went there with my four children.
“When I walked in the door, Alveda was sitting behind the desk. At that point, I was ready to end my life.
“I just couldn’t see any way out of the tunnel. I had my babies, I didn’t know how I was going to take care of them. And I expressed that to Alveda.
“She hired me that day,” said Stanton-King of the woman she calls her godmother, “and I’ve been with her ever since.”
With Alveda King’s help, Stanton-King defied the odds. She went on to write a best-selling book about her journey, Life of a Real Housewife. The book launched her career as a publishing entrepreneur, and that led to a big role in a BET reality TV show. She also founded the American King Foundation, a nonprofit focused on criminal-justice reform and reuniting families that have been separated by mass incarceration.
Alveda King, who has twice led a group of African-American pastors to visit with President Trump in the White House, told Newsmax there’s a tectonic, pro-Trump shift underway in the African-American community.
Stanton-King agreed, and credited the president’s willingness to give people a second chance.
Along with record employment for the African-American community, Trump is making good on his promise to enact criminal-justice reform. In December 2018, he signed off the First Step Act criminal justice reform bill. Another bill, the Next Step Act, is in the works to help people find employment once they’ve paid their debt to society.
“His works are speaking for him now,” Stanton-King said. “People are seeing results, and with the First Step Act we have many of our fathers and our brothers and our uncles coming home from prison, and they’re not being shy about it: They’re like, ‘You know, Trump did this for us.’”
Trump’s outreach to African-American voters appears to have caught the political left flatfooted. After the news of Tuesday’s pardons broke, several progressives fired off statements offering familiar talking points that seemed strangely out-of-touch.
Democratic 2020 frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders, for example, seemed completely unaware that several people of color, as well as several champions of criminal-justice reform such as Stanton-King and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, were among the 11 people granted pardons and clemency Tuesday.
As quoted in The New York Times, Sanders charged Trump had granted clemency “to tax cheats, Wall Street crooks, billionaires, and corrupt government officials,” while “thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions.”
In his customary high dudgeon, Sanders concluded, “This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like.”
A very similar, bitter reaction came from the razor-tongued, left-leaning comedian Chelsea Handler.
“While our president exonerates criminals and releases them from jail,” she tweeted, “notice what color they all are.”
The obvious implication: That Trump was only pardoning white people.
Stanton-King soon tweeted back a two-word response, “I’m BLACK.” And Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign, jumped in as well, citing a Sentencing Project study that found over 90 percent of those resentenced under the First Step Act were African-American.
Stanton-King said she’s getting 10 or 12 messages a day from people in her community telling her they’ve decided to vote for Trump.
“There are a lot of people who may not be saying it vocally or using their platforms for it, but they’re saying it behind closed doors and they’re all going to secretly vote for him,” she told Newsmax.
“We’re in the age of social media now,” she added, “where they can hear the reports on the news, but they can also get on social media now and follow people who have huge platforms like myself, and see exactly for themselves what it is this president is doing. And they’re realizing that they’ve been bamboozled, and they’re waking up.”
Said Alveda King, “People will come up to us and say, ‘Don’t tell anybody but, I’m voting for Trump,’ or ‘I’m getting more money on my paycheck,’ or ‘I’ve got a job.’”
Now that her federal record has been cleared, Stanton-King plans to move forward with her efforts in the community, where she’s very active in criminal-justice reform and the pro-life movement.
“I want to help other people clear their records,” she told Newsmax, “and I want to help them avoid some of the loopholes that get people caught up in our criminal justice system."
She added, “I’m using my own personal story to inspire, and helping a lot of the returning citizens to take the God-given gifts and talents that they have, just like I did, and turn them into a profitable business.
“So for me now,” she told Newsmax, “it’s all about spreading the word about this organization, what this president is doing, showing them what this president is doing, and making sure that black people understand the GOP is not their enemy.”
She also predicted that Trump “is going to do very, very well this election, I have absolutely no doubt about it. People are waking up, and they’re seeing it. I’m seeing it right before my eyes."
She added: “So many people, they’re families are like, ‘We know that Trump is the one that released my Dad, Trump is the one that released my Mom, or Trump is the one who sent my son home.’
“It’s much bigger than what the left is trying to report.”
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