Today in things I didn’t expect to write: Kanye West is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump.
The Chicago rapper-producer returned to the stage in San Jose Thursday night for his first concert since the election. Throughout his set, he spoke of Trump’s victory and why he thought “his approach was absolutely genius.” Inspired by Trump, Kanye also reaffirmed his own interest to run in 2020.
“I told y’all I didn’t vote,” Kanye told the crowd. “But if I would’ve voted, I would’ve voted on Trump.”
“There’s nonpolitical methods to speaking that I like, that I feel were very futuristic,” he explained. “And that style, and that method of communication, has proven that it can beat a politically correct way of communication. And I fuck with that.” He went on to say that Trump’s campaign wasn’t just “entertaining — I actually think that his approach was absolutely genius. Because it fucking worked!”
“I’m not saying this to diss celebrities at all, particularly on the democratic side — that’s cool. I just hate the fact that because I’m a celebrity, everybody told me not to say that I loved the debates. I loved [Trump’s] approach. It be like, white people that’s racist, running around saying nigga now. If people are racist and they feel more inspired to say how they feel, then they’re exposing themselves, bro. This is what I’m saying. It’s already the beginning of change. Sometimes things that you might think are bad need to happen, in order for change to fucking 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.”
Kanye himself previously expressed interest in running for president in 2020. He told the audience that the success of Trump’s presidency reaffirmed his convictions. “Rappers are philosophers of our now, celebrities are the influencers of our now, just look at the president. [Trump] wasn’t in politics and won.”
“I don’t say 2020 out of disrespect to our president, at all. I’m not saying that, ‘Oh man, that just mean that anybody can win.’ That’s not what I’m saying when I say 2020. I just said, I got some ideas about the way we should connect our ideas. And 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. And that should mean more.”
Kanye went as far to offer a preview of his campaign platform, saying, “We can start with America. And bring together the best of all skill sets. Education, housing. There’s so many elements that I’ve been out here learning, when I make my rich-guy house and shit. I be learning about elements that everyone should have. Color palettes, proportions.”
Addressing those who fear Trump’s election will usher in new waves of racism, Kanye also called on “black people [to] stop focusing on racism. This world is racist, OK? Let’s stop being distracted to focus on that as much. It’s just a fucking fact. We are in a racist country, period. Do not allow people to make us talk about that so fucking long. Let’s talk about whatever the fuck you wanna talk about. Let’s stop talking about that, bro. It’s racist, OK? … And not one or the other candidate was gonna instantly be able to change that because of their views. Bottom fucking line.”
Update: Another clip from the concert hears Kanye defending his social views despite his support from Trump. “That don’t mean that I don’t think that Black Lives Matter. That don’t mean I don’t think that I’m a believer in women’s rights. That don’t mean I don’t believe in gay marriage. That don’t mean that I don’t believe in these things because that was the guy I would’ve voted for.”
Additionally, as SPIN points out, Kanye made a campaign contribution to Hillary Clinton in July 2015. He also twice donated to President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2012 and the Democratic National Commitee in 2014.
Watch fan-shot footage of Kanye’s comments below.