Rapper Kanye West blew up the Internet on the Fourth of July with his announcement that he’s running for president.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,” West tweeted. “I am running for president.”
This isn’t the first time the mercurial entertainer has discussed a run for president. In 2019 he announced that he was planning to run in 2024.
“When I run for president in 2024, we’re going to definitely — yo, whatchu [sic] all laughing at?” he said at a conference in New York. “When I run for president in 2024, we would’ve created so many jobs that, in fact, I’m going to walk.”
“What I’m saying is, when y’all read the headlines, ‘Kanye’s crazy,’ this and that, this and that, it’s like one in three African-Americans are in jail and all of the celebrities are in jail also because they can’t say nothing [sic]! They’ve got no opinion! They’re so scared!” he added.
Many of West’s fans were angered when the entertainer signaled his support for President Trump in 2019, donning a “Make America Great Again” hat and meeting with the president in the White House.
West’s wife, reality star Kim Kardashian West, told Van Jones in 2019 that her husband is “not political, actually.”
“He just happens to like Donald Trump’s personality but doesn’t know about the politics,” she added. “He will always say he was friendly with [Trump] before, and he’s the same person and friendly with him now.”
“I know it’s very confusing because when you see someone wearing a red hat, you would think that they are supporting that,” she said, “but he’s just fighting for free thought and the freedom to like a person, even if it’s not the popular decision.”
In early 2019 West tweeted, “One of my favorite of many things about what the Trump hat represents to me is that people can’t tell me what to do because I’m black.”
Trump returned the favor, tweeting, “Thank you to Kanye West for your nice words. Criminal Justice Reform is now law – passed in a very bipartisan way!”
Since then, West claims to have become a devout Christian and has been criss-crossing the country on his “Sunday Supper” gospel music tour.
There has been much speculation about the rapper’s silence in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and the ensuing riots and protests, but according to CNN, the singer recently “made a $2 million donation to support the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.” The donation includes “funding for legal fees for Arbery and Taylor’s families, along with black-owned businesses in crisis in his native Chicago and other cities” and a donation to a college fund for the six-year-old daughter of Floyd.
At publishing time, West’s announcement had been retweeted nearly 200,000 times. Kardashian West, not surprisingly, was among the first to share her husband’s tweet.
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk was quick to offer his support:
Also offering support was Bret Weinstein, a former Evergreen State College professor turned free speech activist who describes himself as a “left-libertarian” and “progressive.”
Whether West is serious about a presidential bid — which would be the longest of longshots and a media circus to boot — is anyone’s guess. The singer opened up last year about his struggle with bipolar disorder, a mental condition that is characterized by erratic mood swings.
President Trump has yet to respond to West’s announcement, but don’t be surprised to see an early morning tweetstorm.