A top Democrat claimed on Friday that there’s “no question” Kanye West’s 2020 campaign is aimed at siphoning votes from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Clyburn said during an appearance on MSNBC.
“We saw what was going on in Wisconsin where he was getting help getting on the ballot. But African Americans, most especially, know what this campaign is all about.”
West, 43, is an artist known for his support of Republican President Donald Trump. He announced last month he was mounting a third-party bid for the presidency, saying he does not support Trump any longer and hoped both Trump and Biden dropped out.
West made it onto the Oklahoma ballot but has missed some deadlines, such as South Carolina’s, and withdrawn filings for other states, including New Jersey.
West filed paperwork this week to get on Wisconsin’s ballot. West’s efforts have been aided by lawyers and others connected to the Republican party, but there’s no concrete proof that he is running to split the vote. Asked about the notion, West told Forbes this week that he’s in it “to win.”
Trump, asked about West, told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that he likes West. “He’s always been very nice to me,” he said, adding that he’s not involved with West’s bid.
Clyburn said on Friday that black people “have seen these kind of tactics before,” citing a U.S. Senate race in his state.
“We fell victim to it when we didn’t know where it was coming from or what was going on. We now know, and we’re not going to make that mistake again. If you fool me once, that shame is on you. You fool me twice, that shame would be on me. We ain’t going to be shamed in this election,” he added.
West told a rally last month that it was racist to assume his bid is about diverting votes from Biden, who is white.
“I’m going to explain to you that Democrats ain’t get [expletive] for blacks. And the most racist thing that’s ever been said out loud is the idea that if Kanye West runs for president, I’m going to split the black votes,” West said.
West couldn’t be reached on Friday. He does not have an official campaign website.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission is still reviewing petitions to see who will be on the ballot.
Other officials have jumped onto the idea that West’s bid is for splitting votes from Biden.
Mandela Barnes, a Democrat who serves as Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, accused the Republican Party of using West “to meet their own goals, because they don’t want to do the work.”