President Donald Trump met with the celebrated artist Kanye West at the Oval Office in the White House on Thursday. West sported a red “MAGA” cap as he spoke to the president about issues that included prison reform. Known for his rap music, West joked with Trump that the president probably never expected to have “a crazy motherf–—” like him as an ally. West told reporters during the meeting: “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now.” He said of Trump: "I love this guy right here."
When West was pressed by ABC reporter Jonathan Karl on one of his responses, the signer chided the reporter and said that "complex" issues cannot be reduced to "sound bites." Characterizing his own remarks, West said, “You are tasting a fine wine.”
West has been criticized by media and black politicos for his support of the president. In a reference to his red cap, West said, “They tried to scare me to not wear this hat.” During a recent appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” West was encouraged by cast members to refrain from wearing the iconic headgear. Off air, West made impromptu remarks in support of Trump and was booed by the largely white audience.
On Thursday, West said of his red MAGA cap, “This hat gives me power in a way," and later compared it to a “Superman cape.” Giving his remarks that extended into nearly 10 minutes in front of cameras and a gaggle of reporters, West talked about his upbringing and said that “my dad and my mom separated so I did not have a lot of male energy in my home and also I married into a family where, you know, there’s not a lot of male energy. It’s beautiful though.” Saying that he had once been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, West said that he has concluded that it was a "misdiagnosis" and that he was simply sleep-deprived. Once West was finished, the president said, “I tell you what, that was pretty impressive.”
“That was quite something,” Trump said.
West then said, “It was from the soul. I just channeled it.”
During the Thursday meeting at the White House, Trump said of West:“He can speak for me anytime he wants. He’s a smart cookie. He gets it.”
In a reference to the Constitution and the post-Civil War amendment that eliminated slavery, West turned to the issue of racism and the recurrent call for reparations for centuries of black slavery. He said, “We don’t have the reparations but we have the 13th Amendment,” and added, “We've got to open up the whole conversation.”
"One of the moves that I love that liberals try to do is: A liberal will try to control a black person by the concept of racism because they know that we are a very proud, emotional people. So, when I tell someone who's liberal 'I like Trump,' they say, 'He's racist!'" He went on to say, "Do you think that racism can control me? That don't stop me! That's an invisible wall."
When Trump was asked if West may be of presidential timber, he said, “Could very well be.” West interjected: “Only after 2024.”
Mental illness alleged
Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC reacted to West's visit. Velshi said: "Wow! That was bonkers...That was crazy." Ruhle reacted and said: "That was an assault on our White House."
On ABC's "The View," show host Abby Huntsman observed of West, “If you have a family member that suffers from mental illness… you have to get inside their head, which is an impossible task, and convince them that there is a big enough problem that they need to get help, and they’re not willing to do that.” She added, “If you’re Kim Kardashian, you feel for her in this moment.” Huntsman is new to ABC: until recently, she was featured on Fox News network's "Fox & Friends" morning show. Yvette Nicole Brown, a guest host on "The View," said she is not aware whether or not West has been prescribed medication for any mental illness. She said that West is making a ploy for attention. “This is not even about the policies at this point. He just wants the attention. It’s an attention-grab at this point and I don’t know who around him — his handlers, his wife — can get to him,” she said.
On Wednesday night, a black political analyst referred to West as a "token negro." CNN political analyst Tara Setmayer said on Don Lemon's show: “Black folks are about to trade Kanye West in the racial draft, OK. They’ve had it with him,” Setmayer said as the panel burst out laughing. “This is not the Kanye West of 2004,” Setmayer said. “Now all of the sudden because he’s put on a MAGA hat and he’s an attention whore like the president, he’s all of the sudden the model spokesperson. He’s the token negro of the Trump administration,” she said.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.