Kanye West met with President Donald Trump on Oct. 11 at the Oval Office, giving an unprepared 10-minute monologue in front of reporters and drawing praise from Trump for his honesty.
Donning a signature red “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat, West, sitting just feet away from the president at the Resolute Desk, talked freely about mental health, prison reform, and improving life for African-Americans. Former NFL star Jim Brown, who has previously voiced support for the president, was also in attendance.
Surrounded by flashing cameras, West’s remarks came before a planned lunch at the White House where they would discuss the manufacturing resurgence, how to prevent gang violence, and reducing violent crime in Chicago, where West grew up. He also met with Jared Kushner, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, who spearheaded the president’s prison reform initiative in Congress.
West and Trump have a friendship that goes back to before the 2016 presidential election. The president recently told law enforcement that he would be sending reinforcements to Chicago to “straighten it out.”
On Sept. 29, West, one of Trump’s most famous supporters, publicly exalted the president during a segment on Saturday Night Live that was cut short. At the White House, West continued to praise Trump at the meeting, at one point running around the desk to hug him.
“They tried to scare me to not wear this hat,” West told Trump, referencing his SNL appearance.”When I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman—my favorite superhero. You made a Superman cape for me.”
West said the president was brave for trying to tackle criminal justice issues. He then lamented over the lack of support for conservatives in the entertainment industry and how the president is portrayed in the media.
“What I need ‘SNL’ and liberals to improve on is, if [Trump] don’t look good, we don’t look good. He has to be the freshest, the flyest, have the flyest planes. He has to look good!” West said. “When we make everything in China and not America, we’re cheating on our country.”
Trump’s MAGA agenda has made waves in the African-American community. Blacks have recently been enjoying the lowest unemployment since government recording began in 1972. Violent crime also started declining in 2017 after two years of increases.
West discussed a wide range of subjects, from his own business deals to gun control. “Illegal guns [are] the problem, not legal guns, we have the right to bear arms,” he said.
After West’s lengthy soliloquy, Trump, who earlier described West as “a friend of mine for a long time” thanked him for his remarks.
“I tell you what, that was pretty impressive,” Trump said. “That was quite something.”
“It was from the soul,” West responded. “I just channeled it.”
West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, visited the White House in September to discuss prison sentencing reform with Trump. In May, she met with the president to seek clemency for Alice Marie Johnson, 63, who was imprisoned for drug conspiracy.
After the meeting, on June 6, Trump commuted the life sentence of Johnson after taking account of her behavior as well as the 22 years she’s already spent behind bars.
In April, Kanye West hit back at critics on Twitter who reacted negatively to his posting a compliment toward Trump. He declared that the “mob” can’t make him forgo his support for Trump.
“You don’t have to agree with [T]rump but the mob can’t make me not love him,” West wrote on Twitter.”We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”