Hip-hop mogul Kanye West announced at a Thursday night concert in California that he did not vote in the presidential election, but if he had, he would have voted for Donald Trump.
“I told y’all I didn’t vote, right?” Kanye said, standing on the floating stage he uses on his Saint Pablo tour. “But if I would’ve voted, I would’ve voted for Trump.”
Perhaps predictably, the attendees at West’s San Jose, California, show reacted mostly negatively to the rapper’s pronouncement, with some throwing items at the stage. West continued though into an extended monologue, which was reported by the music website Pitchfork and others, focused on the election, political discourse and Trump’s communication style, which West said he found impressive.
“There’s nonpolitical methods to speaking that I like, that I feel were very futuristic. And that style, and that method of communication, has proven that it can beat a politically correct way of communication,” West said at the concert. He bemoaned that he had been told that he should avoid praising Trump because he is a celebrity, telling the crowd that Trump’s rhetorical style was not simply “entertaining — I actually think that his approach was absolutely genius, because it f—ing worked.”
He urged African-Americans to “stop focusing on racism” because “this world is racist, OK?”
The rapper’s pro-Trump monologue put him at odds with the political leanings of his wife, reality-TV star Kim Kardashian, who said publicly during the presidential campaign that she was supporting Hillary Clinton. The celebrity couple posed for a photo with the former secretary of state that was posted to Instagram last year.
West, who announced plans to run for president in 2020 in a rambling acceptance speech at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, reaffirmed those plans Thursday night. He told the crowd that “I’ve got some ideas about the way we should connect our ideas” and said the government should rely on the popular proposals from both parties to govern. “There’s things that Benjamin Carson believes in that I believe in,” West said, adding that the retired neurosurgeon should be a consultant to the president, as should Clinton and Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
“I don’t say 2020 because, out of disrespect to our president at all. I’m not saying that, ‘Oh man, that just means that anybody can win.’ That’s not what I’m saying when I say 2020,” he told the crowd. “I’ve just said I’ve got some ideas about the way we should connect our ideas. That we should use opposite parties. That the Republicans, that the Democrats, that everyone that ran that had an idea that people agreed with should be the collective ideas that are used to run the country.”
He said that he was fine with the uptick in public outbursts of racism and hate speech because “they exposing themselves, Bro.”
“Sometimes things that you might think are bad need to happen, in order for change to f—ing happen. Sometimes you might have to not get your way to really understand what to do in the future, to be able to get your way.”
It is not the first time West has waded into the political world. Obama called West a “jackass” for interrupting the acceptance speech of pop star Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards, an insult the president repeated in 2012, this time tacking on a “but he’s talented” compliment.
West apparently responded on his 2010 single “Power,” rapping that “they say I was the abomination of Obama’s nation. Well that’s a pretty bad way to start the conversation.”