It was a head-scratching afternoon at the White House on Thursday as rapper Kanye West and so many of his opinions descended upon 1600 Penn. to discuss a range of topics, including North Korea and bipolar disorder, with his “brother” President Trump.
Sporting his now-signature “Make America Great Again” hat, West made his first trip to the executive mansion to move the needle on several issues close to his heart and, before he deleted it, his social media feed — among them prison reform, gang violence and his hometown of Chicago.
With West seated across from him at the famous Resolute Desk, Trump began the Oval Office meeting — which also included Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner — by saying that the administration has been “keeping our promises.”
West responded, “I like the North Korea.”
Trump went on to explain that the United States had been “headed for war” with North Korea and that his administration had stopped the war and “saved millions of lives.” According to Trump, President Barack Obama told him that North Korea was one of the country’s biggest problems.
West was impressed. “Day One, solved one of his biggest problems,” the rapper said. “We solved one of the biggest problems.”
With that, West launched into a nearly 10-minute speech that the rapper said was “from the soul,” according to White House pool reports.
The meandering soliloquy roller-coastered from the personal to the political. West called the president’s work on criminal-justice reform (an issue championed by his wife, Kim Kardashian West, during her own visits with Trump) “bravery.” He said he was advised by his friends not to wear the MAGA hat: “They tried to scare me to not wear this hat.” He commented on his childhood. “My dad and my mom separated, so there was not a lot of male energy in my home and also I’m married to a family where, you know, there’s not a lot of male energy. It’s beautiful, though.” West said that the MAGA hat made him feel like a superhero and that Trump, whom the rapper looked up to, had given him “a Superman cape” endowing West with the courage to negotiate business deals and help his community by bringing back manufacturing jobs.
West also had some clarifications about his mental health, a hot topic following his appearance on “Saturday Night Live” on Sept. 30. After the show went off the air, the rapper kept talking to the cast and audience about random topics that were captured on social media, including welfare conspiracies, racism and being bullied for his choice of hat. West has spoken out before about his bipolar disorder, but he told Trump on Thursday that was a misdiagnosis and that he is instead just sleep-deprived.
West, who received harsh criticism for suggesting that slavery was a “choice,” also told Trump that “we have to release the love [throughout] the country. . . . We don’t have the reparations, but we have the 13th Amendment.”
The rapper referred to his own Oval Office opus as “a fine wine,” adding that “it has complex notes to it.”
When his monologue was finally finished, it was Trump’s turn to say something.
“I tell you what, that was pretty impressive,” Trump said. “That was quite something.”
The president added that West could “speak for me any time he wants. He’s a smart cookie. He gets it.”
When asked by a reporter whether West, who has teased a presidential run in the past, was a viable candidate for commander in chief, Trump said that the rapper “could very well be.” But West had a caveat: “Only after 2024,” he said.
West continued: “Let’s stop worrying about the future, all we have is today. . . . Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. He might not have thought he’d have a crazy [expletive]” like him.
The pair then posed for photos and West, who did not cast a vote in the 2016 presidential election but has been a vocal supporter of Trump, hugged the president.
“I love this guy right here,” West said.