Kanye West has reaffirmed his support for Donald Trump, whom he has previously called “his brother”, in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal.
West says people make assumptions about his political views because of his race, automatically assuming he would disagree with Trump’s views.
West also compares the pushback he faces for publicly wearing his Make America Great Again hat to racial profiling and discrimination. “It reminded me of how I felt as a black guy before I was famous, when I would walk in a restaurant and people would look at you like you were going to steal something,” the musician says. “‘This is your place, Ye, don’t talk about apparel. This is your place, Ye, you’re black, so you’re a Democrat.’”
West’s praise of Trump comes as medical experts, health officials, and growing numbers of unemployed workers criticize the president’s response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.
The rapper was previously known for publicly attacking the inadequate federal response to a national crisis. In 2005, he delivered the memorable line “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when a ravaged New Orleans had yet to receive substantial federal assistance.
The past few days have been turbulent for West and his reality-star wife, Kim Kardashian West. Over the weekend, the internet entered a frenzy over new leaked footage of a controversial phone call between West and Taylor Swift. To some, the extended clip, recorded around 2015, provided proof that West had lied about asking Swift for permission to call her a “bitch” in a song lyric and intentionally set out to disparage her public image. Kardashian West spoke out against the renewed accusations, writing that Swift was “actually lying”.
In the interview, West also reveals that he worked closely with Trump and the White House adviser Jared Kushner to help free the rapper A$AP Rocky, who was detained by the Swedish government for aggravated assault charges last summer.
Trump tweeted about the case following discussions with West, suggesting the rapper had a major influence on his diplomatic decision. “Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky,” Trump said at the time.
West has previously faced blowback for praising Candace Owens, a conservative black activist, and suggesting slavery “was a choice”. (West later apologized for the slavery comments.)