Donald Trump made a surprise call into “Fox & Friends” on Thursday. In the nearly hour-long interview, the president touched on a broad swath of topics including his much-discussed bromance with Kanye West.
“First of all I like him a lot. He’s been a friend of mine. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a very different kind of a guy, I say that in a positive way,” said Trump. “Those that are in the music business say he’s a genius and that’s OK with me because as far as I’m concerned he is.”
Trump said he definitely saw evidence of Kanye’s embrace helping him with black voters.
“When Kanye came out very strongly a couple months ago, something happened — my polls went up 25 percent. Nobody’s ever seen it,” he said. “He has a big following in the African-American community. A big, big following.”
Trump and the rapper are expected to have lunch this week to discuss prison reform — an issue West has repeatedly said is close to his heart. His wife Kim Kardashian West played a major role in convincing Trump to grant clemency to former drug trafficker Alice Marie Johnson — something President Obama repeatedly declined to do.
His friendship with Trump love has come at a price for Kanye, who has taken brutal criticism from his fans and allies. On CNN Tuesday evening, host Don Lemon laughed along as one of his guests accused West of being mentally ill and called him a Trump’s “token negro.”
“He’s an attention whore, like the president. He’s all of a sudden now the model spokesperson. He’s the token negro of the Trump administration,” said CNN contributor Tara Setmeyer.
CNN did not respond to repeated requests from TheWrap to comment on the matter.
Last month, “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota also voiced concern about West. “I just am wondering if it’s time to start worrying about Kanye because he does go on, sometimes, nonsensical rants,” she said. “He has taken a break for some stress related issues, so I’m concerned.”
During an appearance on SNL in September, West earned audience boos when the cameras stopped rolling after going on an extended rant praising Trump and blasting Democrats.
“You know it’s like the plan — the Democratic plan — to take the fathers out the home and promote welfare. Does anybody know about that? That’s the Democratic plan,” West said amid jeers on the sound stage of the NBC show. “So many times I talk to a white person about this and they say ‘how can you like Trump? He’s racist. If I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago.”