'Red hat off': White House hopeful Kanye West breaks with Trump
Kanye West believes God told him to run for president, the rapper reveals in an interview published Wednesday in which he claims no longer to support Donald Trump and voices doubt over Democrat challenger Joe Biden's ability to unite black voters.
In a wide-ranging phone conversation with Forbes magazine, the billionaire entertainment mogul acknowledges that he has missed the deadline to be on the ballot in multiple states, but says he will make a final decision about running within 30 days.
"We've been talking about this for years," West said of his presidential ambitions, referring to two main supporters, wife Kim Kardashian-West and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Less than four months ahead of November's election, West raised eyebrows Saturday when he announced on Twitter that he would challenge Trump.
"Let's see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it's 2024 -- because God appoints the president," West told Forbes. "If I win in 2020 then it was God's appointment."
He has offered virtually no details about his campaign, but the hip-hop star who famously wore a red "Make America Great Again" cap to a 2018 Oval Office meeting with Trump said he no longer supports the president.
"I am taking the red hat off, with this interview," West, 43, said, adding he will run as the candidate of a new "Birthday Party."
He largely avoided criticizing Trump, however, except over his response to racial injustice protests that have roiled the US -- feeding suspicions that the rapper's run is a ruse to spoil election rival Biden's challenge.
"To say that the black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy," said West, explaining that he was comfortable with siphoning African American votes from the Democratic nominee.
Observers have noted that even if West is not on the ballot in many states, a write-in campaign could damage Biden, particularly in swing states where Trump narrowly won in 2016 but now trails the Democrat.
West, who revealed he contracted COVID-19 in February, said he remains wary of vaccines as a solution because they have paralyzed "so many" children -- a view that counters most health experts who deem vaccines very safe.
"So when they say the way we're going to fix COVID is with a vaccine, I'm extremely cautious," he said. "That's the mark of the beast."
© 2020 AFP