When Kanye West tweeted on July 4 that he was planning to run for president, many wondered if it might be just another act of trolling. But, in an interview with Forbes (described as a “rambling” four-hour marathon), the rapper and fashion mogul appeared to confirm his intentions—and shared some details of his presidential vision.
Right off the bat, West says he’s done backing Donald Trump: “It looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker.” Still, he offers a note of praise, saying, “Trump is the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation.”
As to why he ever went MAGA in the first place, West explains, “One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community. Also, other than the fact that I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby.”
West also suggests that Jared Kushner is every bit as informed on racial issues as his father-in-law, saying, “One time I talked to Jared Kushner who was saying, ‘We don’t have Black leaders, we just have hustlers.’ Why? Because they killed all the Black leaders.” (Kushner’s people did not respond to requests from Forbes to confirm if any interaction between Kanye West and the White House advisor have ever taken place.)
Although he has established no campaign apparatus, has only now registered to vote for the first time in his life, and has selected little-known Wyoming preacher Michelle Tidball as his running mate, West remains confident that God is on his side.
“Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024,” he says, “because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment.”
God, West believes, will also solve the coronavirus crisis. “We pray. We pray for the freedom. It’s all about God. We need to stop doing things that make God mad,” he says.
The musician, who told the reporter he had COVID-19 in February, expressed concern about a coronavirus vaccine—and appeared to be skeptical of vaccines in general.
“It’s so many of our children that are being vaccinated and paralyzed,” West says. “So when they say the way we’re going to fix COVID is with a vaccine, I’m extremely cautious. That’s the mark of the beast. They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven. I’m sorry when I say they, the humans that have the Devil inside them. And the sad thing is that, the saddest thing is that we all won’t make it to heaven, that there’ll be some of us that do not make it. Next question.”
On a related note, West expresses his concern about ingredients in common household products. “Clean up the chemicals. In our deodorant, in our toothpaste, there are chemicals that affect our ability to be of service to God.”
Abortion, West says, can also be attributed to Satan: “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.”
West dismisses Joe Biden because, unlike himself, Trump, and Barack Obama, Biden is “not special,” adding, “This man, Joe Biden, said if you don’t vote for me, then you are not Black,” referencing the candidate’s comments on a June episode of The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne tha God.
“For the other candidates, I just gracefully suggest y’all bow out,” West offers. “Trump and Biden, gracefully bow out. It’s God’s country.”
Regarding his public persona, West assures the voters, “I’m not crazy. Between all of the influences and the positions that we can be put in as musicians—you go on tour, you put out all these albums, and you look up and you don’t have any money in your account. It can drive you crazy, through all of that I was looking crazy because it wasn’t the time. Now it’s time. And we’re not going crazy, we’re going Yeezy, it’s a whole ‘notha level now. N-O-T-H-A.”
In a 2019 feature for Forbes, a favorite publication of the Kardashian-Jenner-West clan, West spoke about his mental health, including a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Three years prior, West was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for over a week to address “temporary psychosis” under what was reported to be an involuntary hold.
As of yet, Kanye West is not believed to have filed any official paperwork to establish a legitimate campaign and is not thought to have any formal infrastructure. The deadlines to get on November 2020 ballots have already passed in six states, and getting on the ballot in others would require quickly gathering thousands of voter signatures.
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