Alleged presidential candidate Kanye West is no longer supporting President Donald Trump, according to a new interview with Forbes. “I am taking the red hat off, with this interview,” West says, marking the first time he’s attempted to distance himself from the president since 2016. The announcement comes after West declared, on July 4th, that he’d be running for president, despite having yet to file any paperwork to land him on the ballot in November.
West, who’s been busy as of late, inking a new megadeal with Gap, releasing a new single with Travis Scott, and filing for a PPP loan, discusses a far-ranging number of subjects in the interview. He touches on Trump, Biden’s “you ain’t Black” comments, having COVID-19 in February, and he shares some fairly repugnant anti-abortion and anti-vaccination conspiracies.
When asked if his candidacy was part of a publicity stunt for a new album, West doubled down on its veracity. “Like anything I’ve ever done in my life...I’m [going] to win,” he said. West claims that he’ll be running under a new political party — the Birthday Party — with Elon Musk on hand as an advisor, and Michelle Tidball, a preacher from Wyoming, as his running mate. The campaign slogan reduces Barack Obama’s “Yes we can” down to a simple “YES!”
The policies range the gamut of ideology and popularity. Ending the death penalty, ending police brutality, bringing back prayer in schools, exploring the “framework of Wakanda,” among other things. His plans turn truly noxious when discussing abortion accessibility, claiming that “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.” At one point, he declares that a coronavirus vaccine is the “mark of the beast,” expressing fears of the government implanting microchips — despite palling around with one billionaire who’s actually invested in that technology.
The piece portrays his pivot away from Trump as sudden and inexplicable. The piece’s writer notes that weeks before they spoke, West sent text messages to the writer with “Trump 2020” and the fist emoji. At some point, his faith was shaken. “It looks like one big mess to me,” he says. “I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker.”
Even if he was bothered by the bunker debacle, Kanye’s allegiance is closer aligned to Trump than Biden. “I’m not saying Trump’s in my way, he may be a part of my way. And Joe Biden? Like come on man, please. You know? Obama’s special. Trump’s special. We say Kanye West is special. America needs special people that lead. Bill Clinton? Special. Joe Biden’s not special,” he says.
Chances are the reaction to all of this will all look silly at best — or insidious at worst, in the case of serious media types speculating or outright assuming that a theoretical Kanye campaign will siphon off Black voters from Biden. Amid every promised album and presidential run of years past, Kanye’s only consistent ideology has been the furthering of his brand. We’ll see where it goes from here.