“I would like you to speak with the president to tell him your experience directly,” West tweeted. “Let’s have a dialogue not a diatribe.”
As of Wednesday evening, Kaepernick had yet to reply, at least to the tweet or in any other public manner. He has been at odds with Trump since the 2016 presidential campaign, when the then-candidate, who has become a sharp and frequent critic of the NFL player protests begun by Kaepernick, suggested that the quarterback “find a country that works better for him."
More recently, Trump made a point of wondering on Twitter what Nike was “thinking,” after the sports-apparel giant unveiled a major ad campaign last month featuring Kaepernick as its centerpiece. The quarterback has been out of the NFL since parting ways with the 49ers in March 2017, and he has filed a grievance against the NFL accusing team owners of colluding to punish him for his social activism.
Meanwhile, West has emerged, to the confusion and dismay of some of his fans, as an outspoken supporter of the president. He has worn the now-familiar “Make America Great Again” red hat on numerous occasions, including in a “Saturday Night Live” appearance last week, when West delivered pro-Trump comments to the audience after the show went off the air.
The hat was on again during an interview Monday with TMZ’s Harvey Levin, who asked West, “How do you make Donald Trump’s statements positive when he talks about embracing white nationalists, embracing people like David Duke, coming down on Colin Kaepernick, saying these ‘sons of bitches’ should be fired?”
Levin was referring to Trump’s most inflammatory comments about the NFL’s player protests, which have been staged by some players during the national anthem and are meant to bring attention to issues of racial injustice and police brutality. During a September 2017 political rally in Alabama, the president told the crowd, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ”
Those remarks sparked massive demonstrations by players, and even some owners, before NFL games two days later, although the protesters quickly dwindled in number. The only players who have been kneeling during the anthem this season are the Dolphins' Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, while teammate Robert Quinn has been raising a fist and a few others on different teams have stayed off the field while the song has been performed.
In response to Levin’s questions about his support for Trump, West initially appeared to struggle for an answer before the TMZ founder tried a different approach, asking, “Do you give up on somebody growing when they are unrelenting?”
“We never give up on anyone,” West replied. “Now let me make that more positive: We move forward. We give love. We keep going. We keep having the conversation until the conversation turns to love. We keep going.
"I have been calling Colin this morning, reaching him, so I can bring Colin to the White House, and we can remove that ‘sons of bitches’ statement, and we can be on the same page.”
To judge from West’s tweet Wednesday, he’s still waiting to hear back from Kaepernick about a possible White House meeting. For his part, Trump was quick to praise the rapper after his SNL appearance, with the president telling his 54.8 million Twitter followers that while he didn’t watch the show (“It is just a political ad for the [Democratic Party]"), “Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great. He’s leading the charge!”
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