During his White House Oval Office visit, Kanye West told President Donald Trump that his friends tried to scare him out of wearing his Make America Great Again hat.
Kanye West out-Kanyed himself Thursday.
The rapper, who has become one of Trump’s highest-profile celebrity supporters, visited the White House, where his planned lunch meeting with the president, Jared Kushner and Ivanka, Kid Rock and Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown gave way to a meandering 10-minute monologue.
After running up to hug Trump in the Oval Office in his “Make America Great Again” cap, West told reporters that wearing it made him “feel like Superman” and reiterated his claim that he had been pressured not to wear it, as he said during his recent appearance on the season opener of “Saturday Night Live.”
Over the course of the next 10 minutes, West dropped an F-bomb, (“Put the beep on however you want to do it and have a five-second delay,” he warned reporters), explained why he famously derided former President Bush as racist while defending Trump (“I was in a victim mentality”) and announced that he had been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was actually merely sleep deprived.
He also unwittingly shared the password to his phone (and really ought to come up with something more secure than 000000), likened his rhetorical style to “fine wine” (“it has complex notes to it”) and said he was developing a hydrogen-powered plane with Apple. (West was later spotted at an Apple store in D.C.)
He did eventually get around to the primary reason for his visit: ending the gun violence plaguing his hometown of Chicago and convincing Trump to change his position on “stop-and-frisk” searches, the controversial police practice of temporarily detaining suspects based on “reasonable suspicion” and searching them for weapons and other contraband. Critics say the policy disproportionately targets blacks and Latinos.
The source of Chicago’s violence, West argued, “is illegal guns.” He then stressed, “Not legal guns. We have the right to bear arms.”
He continued, “Let’s stop worrying about the future – all we have is today,” adding, “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. He might not have thought he’d have a crazy (expletive) like (me) supporting him.”
After he finished, the president concluded, “He can speak for me any time he wants. He’s a smart cookie. He gets it,” adding that West “could very well be” a future presidential candidate.
“Only after 2024,” the rapper clarified.
Kid Rock, another celebrity Trump booster, watched the president sign the landmark Music Modernization Act, which guarantees increased and faster royalty payments for performers, songwriters and producers.
The Detroit musician arrived around 11 a.m. and later posed for photos with White House advisor Kellyanne Conway in front of the West Wing Colonnade.
After the signing ceremony, he said, “Everybody knows that this music of business is a pretty dirty business … But this is a great start to protect songwriters, producers, engineers – the unsung heroes behind many of these songs that go out there.”
Turning to Trump, he added “There’s a whole lot of people in this country that do give you a lot of credit for everything you’ve been doing for this country. We know that some people don’t give you as much as maybe they should sometimes.”
This isn’t the first high-profile meeting between Trump and either musician. Kid Rock visited the Oval Office in April 2017 and West famously traveled to Trump Tower in December 2016, where he discussed “multicultural issues” with the then-president-elect and posed for photos in the building’s lobby.
The White House confirmed that West would be meeting with the president, with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying that their conversation topics would include “manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago.”
West’s wife Kim Kardashian has also visited Trump in the White House several times, first meeting with Trump to champion the case of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother who spent more than two decades in prison on drug charges. After Trump granted Johnson clemency, Kardashian traveled to the White House again for a meeting about prison reform.
West’s visit comes after he deleted his social media accounts following his appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” where he donned his “Make America Great Again” hat to deliver an impromptu speech praising Trump and criticizing Democrats.
West noted that white people ask him, ‘’How could you like Trump, he’s racist’? Well, uh, if I was concerned about racism, I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago.”
Contributing: John Fritze, USA TODAY
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