Kanye West loves, and hugs Trump

Kuwait Times - - Lifestyle | Music & Movies -

oes rap megas­tar Kanye West sup­port Don­ald Trump? He loves him-and proved it Thurs­day by strid­ing from his chair at a sur­real White House meet­ing to hug the pres­i­dent. “I love this guy right here,” the se­rial Grammy win­ning artist de­clared in the Oval Of­fice, be­fore tak­ing the pres­i­dent in his arms. The rap­per had been in­vited to lunch to dis­cuss prison re­form but turned what would or­di­nar­ily have been a staid White House photo-op into

pos­si­bly one of the most un­usual en­coun­ters in the Oval Of­fice’s sto­ried his­tory.

Talk­ing loudly and rapidly on ev­ery­thing from Trump’s pro­tec­tion­ist trade poli­cies to re­plac­ing Air Force One with a hy­dro­gen plane, black gun crime, be­ing mar­ried to Kim Kar­dashian and “in­fi­nite amounts of uni­verse,” Kanye left the nor­mally lo­qua­cious pres­i­dent nearly speech­less. “That was quite some­thing,” Trump fi­nally said to laugh­ter from as­ton­ished se­nior aides and jour­nal­ists at the end of the so­lil­o­quy, which Kanye punc­tu­ated with bangs of his fist on the leg­endary Res­o­lute desk, used by pres­i­dents since the 1880s.

“It was from the soul. I just chan­neled it,” the mu­si­cian said, adding-to fur­ther gasps-that Trump “might not have ex­pected to have a crazy guy like Kanye West sup­port­ing him.” Trump said Kanye “could very well be” fu­ture pres­i­den­tial ma­te­rial, to which the rap­per said he would not want to get in the way of the Repub­li­can’s 2020 re­elec­tion. “Only af­ter him in 2024,” Kanye said.


Kanye, who has bro­ken ranks with much of the left-lean­ing en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try to sup­port Trump, re­cently took fire for wear­ing one of the red base­ball caps handed out at the pres­i­dent’s rau­cous “Make Amer­ica Great Again” ral­lies. Does he care? Kanye not only wore one of the caps into the Oval Of­fice but de­clared: “There’s some­thing about when I put on this hat, I feel like Su­per­man.” Trump can only have been de­lighted.

The pres­i­dent is push­ing hard to por­tray him­self as be­ing on the side of blacks, rather than only the over­whelm­ingly white voter block be­hind his sur­prise election. Last year, Trump was heav­ily crit­i­cized for what ap­peared to be his luke­warm con­dem­na­tion of a white su­prem­a­cist rally in Charlottesville, Vir­ginia. He’s also locked in an ugly dis­pute with sev­eral black NFL foot­ball play­ers who have knelt down dur­ing

the play­ing of the US na­tional an­them to protest racial inequal­ity.

As re­cently as Au­gust, Trump seemed to be dig­ging him­self an even larger hole among African Amer­i­cans when he got into a Twit­ter war with bas­ket­ball great and black icon LeBron James. But he’s work­ing to flip that nar­ra­tive ahead of con­gres­sional midterm elec­tions next month. His stump speech in­cludes re­peated boasts about record low un­em­ploy­ment for African Amer­i­cans and he is tout­ing the need for re­form of the prison sys­tem, where blacks are about 38 per­cent of in­mates, de­spite be­ing only 13 per­cent of the US pop­u­la­tion. Kanye’s visit, ac­com­pa­nied by NFL foot­ball great Jim Brown, may be the best po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­tis­ing he can get.

Black power

In a Fox tele­vi­sion in­ter­view Thurs­day, Trump said that Kanye’s sup­port had trans­formed blacks’ view of his pres­i­dency. “When Kanye came out a cou­ple months ago, some­thing hap­pened,” Trump said. “No­body (has) ever seen it. He has a big fol­low­ing in the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, a big, big fol­low­ing .... The polls went through the roof.” Pre­vi­ously, Kanye’s re­al­ity TV star wife Kim Kar­dashian has vis­ited the White House to press, suc­cess­fully, for Trump to grant clemency to Alice John­son, a woman who was sen­tenced to life in prison for non­vi­o­lent drug crimes.

Trump raised her case again Thurs­day as an ex­am­ple of why the prison sys­tem needs ur­gent change. Kanye’s “ter­rific” wife opened his eyes, Trump said. “We do need re­form. That doesn’t mean easy. We’re go­ing to make cer­tain cat­e­gories tougher when it comes to drug deal­ing and other things, but there has to be a re­form be­cause it is very un­fair right now,” he said. “It is very un­fair to African-Amer­i­cans.”—AFP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump meets with rap­per Kanye West in the Oval Of­fice of the White House in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

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