Opinion writer

* Rebecca Morin reports on the most bizarre Oval Office meeting since Nixon hung out with Elvis:

Rapper Kanye West on Thursday defended supporting Donald Trump, saying that wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat made him feel empowered and that it’s embarrassing for the United States if the president doesn’t look good on the world stage.

“If he don’t look good, we don’t look good. This is our president,” West said during a press briefing in the Oval Office before a lunch with the president and former NFL star Jim Brown. They were set to discuss a number of issues, including crime in Chicago, West’s hometown, and criminal justice reform.

The rapper gave a wide-ranging, apparently impromptu speech, which also included discussing his own mental health — he said he had been misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder — and the need to bring jobs back to Middle America.

West has been criticized by other entertainers and some African-Americans for avidly supporting the president. He said Thursday that wearing Trump’s signature MAGA cap, which he donned during an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,“ “made me feel like Superman.”

Among other things, Kanye said that he supported Trump because having a woman president would have threatened his masculinity. I’d encourage you to watch the video — it’s unreal.

* Paul Kane reports that Democratic candidates are rolling in dough:

One by one, Democrats running for the House have released jaw-dropping figures the past week: First-time candidates raising $2.7 million in New Jersey, $3.5 million in California’s Central Valley and more than $3.6 million in northern Kentucky.

That’s just the previous three months, gaining steam on a fundraising surge that began last year. But the more eye-popping way to examine the Democratic cash is through the combined look at what that money does for their candidates.

In terms of television and radio advertising, Democratic candidates are expecting to spend almost $50 million more than their Republican counterparts in about 70 top House races, according to a spreadsheet of ad reservations across the country.

That spreadsheet, known as the “competitive summary” by insiders, was maintained by Republican operatives and provided to The Washington Post by GOP strategists.

I’d take that more as a symbol of the enthusiasm for Democrats than something that will make a practical difference in the end. There are only so many TV ads you can buy. But those are still ridiculous numbers.

* A new NBC poll finds Scott Walker trailing for reelection in Wisconsin by 10 points. It’s probably a good deal closer than that, but still: This is more evidence that Republicans are in deep trouble in “Trump country.”

* Alexander Burns reports that the GOP is beginning to abandon some candidates it sees as lost causes, and diverting money to a smaller number as it makes a last stand to hold the House.

* Jake Spring and Tom Polansek report that Trump’s trade war with China has been great for soybean farmers — in Brazil, that is.

* Monica Potts reports that voters in deep-red Arkansas may vote to make a dramatic increase in the state’s minimum wage.

* Ady Barkan explains why even as he faces death he believes that hope is the most important political tool we have.

* Michael Tomasky explains why both parties are not equally to blame for the deep problems affecting the middle class.

* Emma Green reports that the group most active in politics this year is religiously unaffiliated Democrats.

* Jacob Levy examines the Trump administration’s repeated claim that if they won, that means they’ve been morally vindicated and their sins washed away.

* Mattie Quinn reports that the Trump administration released its final rule on punishing immigrants for using government programs they’re legally entitled to, and while it’s not quite as vicious as the one they originally leaked, it’s still pretty bad.

* Peter Slevin reports on Michelle Obama’s return to the spotlight.

* And eight Democratic women candidates who have served in the military or the federal government, all running for Congress for the first time, got together to make a pretty inspiring video.