Trump meets Kanye West: Prison reform, gang violence and manufacturing on the agenda for White House lunch

'He's a different kind of guy and that's OK with me,' the president says of the rapper

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 11 October 2018 17:13
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Singer Kanye West and President Donald Trump at Trump Tower, 13 December 2016, New York (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Singer Kanye West and President Donald Trump at Trump Tower, 13 December 2016, New York (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

A new Washington power couple appears to be emerging, with Kanye West scheduled to have lunch with Donald Trump at the White House.

The artist is expected to discuss prison reform, manufacturing and gang violence issues in his hometown of Chicago with the president. Their lunch arrives after a series of meetings his wife Kim Kardashian-West attended with senior White House officials and Mr Trump, in which prison reform was also the focus.

Mr Trump told Fox and Friends he was looking forward to having lunch with Mr West, who he called a longtime friend, saying, “He’s a different kind of guy and that’s OK with me.”

The pair will be joined by Jim Brown, a civil rights leader and former NFL player. Both Mr Brown and West have previously met with the president on separate occasions.

The White House confirmed the scheduled lunch in a statement sent to The Independent, saying, “President Trump will host a working lunch in the private dining room off the Oval Office with award-winning Rapper, Producer, and Fashion Designer, Kanye West, Hall of Fame Running Back, Jim Brown, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, Jared Kushner and Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, Ivanka Trump.”

According to the White House, the lunch discussion will focus on the president’s “historic work to benefit all Americans”.

Perhaps not the most obvious couple to become regular guest stars in a White House administration, West has repeatedly shown his support for the president on social media, while his wife led a series of high-level discussions that ultimately led to the release of Alice Johnson, who had been in federal prison on first-time drug charges since 1996.

Mr Trump agreed to pardon the 63-year-old after meeting with Kardashian-West in the Oval Office. The reality TV star now says she is speaking with another prisoner and working towards his release.

Meanwhile, West met with the president shortly before his inauguration at Trump Towers in New York City, and has continued wearing his “Make America Great Again” hats in appearances across the country.

Most recently, West was filmed discussing how he was supposedly bullied backstage during his performance at Saturday Night Live for wearing the president’s campaign gear immediately after the show to a captive audience.

The president tweeted his support for West shortly after the show.

“Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) - no longer funny, no talent or charm,” Mr Trump wrote 30 September. “It is just a political ad for the Dems. Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great.”

The president added about Mr West, “He’s leading the charge!”

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