People far more conversant in the Ye-niverse of Kanye West than I have tried to explain the rapper’s affection for President Trump, a man who was elected to the highest office in the land with just 8 percent of the African American vote. Some have suggested that the odd couple share a love for public attention, no matter how negative. West (who now refers to himself as “Ye”) has noted that he and Trump both possess “dragon energy,” a term I don’t think refers to a scorched Earth approach to life.
But perhaps their relationship is bound by something more basic than politics. Both men have a long, loving relationship with junk food. Trump’s fondness for Diet Coke, taco bowls and Big Macs is well-documented, maybe second only to West’s many paeans to the processed life. A couple years ago, the rapper and his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, were caught in the act of buying enough candy to secure the kindergarten vote for Trump. West once even penned a poem in praise of McDonald’s french fries, which he claimed “had a plan.”
To Make America Fat Again? It’s hard to tell. West didn’t really explain the plan.
It’s too bad, then, that the pair didn’t call up UberEats today for Quarter Pounders, Diet Cokes and a mess of fries for as far as the eye could see. The retro embrace of junk food would have aligned nicely with a White House that has already rolled back the calendar to embrace coal and play down climate change. They could have delivered the Mickey D’s in a Humvee, plowing straight through Michelle Obama’s legacy White House garden, the Kid Rock soundtrack cranked to 11. The video would have broken the Internet, like the many times Kardashian has.
As it was, the White House did turn back the clock for Trump and West’s lunch. According to Kate Bennett, a White House reporter for CNN, Trump’s kitchen prepared a meal straight out of the 1980s: an appetizer of Caprese salad with balsamic glaze (probably more like little droplets around the plate) and an entree of roast chicken with fingerling potatoes and sauteed asparagus. Certainly a fruit salad ambrosia was awaiting the men for dessert, right?
The menu sounded like it was lifted from the Waldorf Astoria, circa the time when Fred Trump was teaching his protege son about the glamour of New York society. If Trump wanted to signal his fondness for a period before #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, he couldn’t have selected a better meal. It was a lunch to indoctrinate West into the fold, as if the rapper’s journey were now complete: He had gone from being a vocal critic of George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina to a full-throated supporter of Donald Trump.
Before he even sat down to lunch with Trump, West was wearing a MAGA cap and explaining to the gathered media why he supports the president. It sounded a lot like West had been searching for a father figure.
“This hat, it gives me power in a way,” West said, explaining that his parents were separated when he was young. “I didn’t have a lot of male energy in my home.”
“There was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman,” he continued. Superman, West noted, is his favorite superhero, a revealing fact on its own. West doesn’t identify with, say, Black Panther, a superhero whose blockbuster movie this year felt like a resistance to “a regressive cultural and political moment fueled in part by the white-nativist movement,” according to one writer. (Worth mentioning: West’s own father was reportedly a member of the Black Panther Party.)
No, West aligns himself with Superman, an alien from the planet Krypton. An outsider who is dropped into the middle of white-bread America.
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