As one of his final acts before leaving office, Donald Trump issued a presidential pardon for Lil Wayne, keeping him out of prison over a firearm charge.
On his final night as president, Trump granted 143 pardons and commutations, including ones for Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist; Elliott Broidy, one of his top 2016 fundraisers; and the rapper, who previously endorsed him for president. The White House also lauded Lil Wayne for his “trustworthy, kindhearted, and generous” nature as well as his charitable work for hospitals and food banks. In December, the musician pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm as a formerly convicted felon one year after he was found on a chartered jet from Los Angeles to Miami with a loaded, gold-plated .45-caliber handgun and bag of various drugs on his person. The musician was facing up to 10 years in prison for the charge before he was pardoned.
Days before the presidential election, Lil Wayne joined fellow rappers, like 50 Cent and Lil Pump, in expressing his support for Trump’s policies and posing for a photo op with the Republican candidate. He tweeted out a photo of himself smiling with the president in front of three American flags, writing, “Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus. Besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done,” capping off his political message with a hang loose emoji. Trump’s “platinum plan” was a collection of initiatives targeted at winning over Black voters ahead of the election by focusing on policies to bolster the economy, prosecute the KKK and Antifa as terrorist organizations, and make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
According to NPR, the Trump campaign team was so pleased with the rapper’s endorsement it promoted the tweet to its outreach list of Black voters, a demographic Republicans only captured 8% of in the 2016 presidential election. But while Lil Wayne’s support wasn’t enough to sway the election in Trump’s favor, apparently it was enough to secure him a pardon.
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