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Trump-Kanye West meeting: Rapper rants and swears at surreal White House lunch on day president signs 'historic' music bill

Rapper hugs Donald Trump while wearing a 'Make America Great Again' hat

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta,Chris Stevenson
Thursday 11 October 2018 02:58
comments
Donald Trump meets with Kanye West and former American Footballer Jim Brown at the White House

Kanye West has launched into an expletive-filled rant touching on everything from prison reform to how Donald Trump makes him feel like “Superman” as part of a surreal meeting in the White House.

West, who lavished praise on the president ahead of a planned lunch, launched into a near 10-minute monologue that Mr Trump called “quite something”.

Referring the Make America Great Again hat he was wearing while sat across from Mr Trump in the Oval Office he said that it felt like it gave him “power”.

“There was something about putting this hat on that made me feel like Superman,” West said, as part of the speech that spanned topics from his mental health - saying he did not have dipolar disorder, but was merely “sleep deprived” - and violence in Chicago.

The rapper has been criticised over his for his support for Mr Trump, including after a recent appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

“People expect that if you're black you have to be Democrat,” he said. “What I need Saturday Night Live to improve on, what I need the liberals to improve on: if he don't look good, we don't look good,” West said, gesturing at Mr Trump.

Taking out his phone, he showed the president an image of a hydrogen-powered plane and suggested the president should use the design for Air Force One.

West also said he would like Mr Trump to ditch talk about persuading police in Chicago to institute “stop and frisk” policies to crack down on crime and violence.

“I didn't mean to put you on the (spot), bro,” West told Mr Trump, who said “I'm open to everything” about the subject, adding that West could speak for him “any time” as he was a “smart cookie”.

West also said the president is on a “hero's journey.”

“Let's stop worrying about the future, all we have is today,” the music star said, commenting on his own presidential ambitions. “Trump is on his hero's journey right now. He might not have thought he'd have a crazy mother-f***** like me [supporting him].”

Asked if he saw West as a potential presidential candidate Mr Trump said “could very well be” with West adding “only after 2024” - the end of a potential second White House term for Mr Trump.

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Over lunch, according to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, Mr Trump and his guests - which include former NFL running back Jim Brown and White House advisors Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump - would discuss potential future pardons for convicts along with “addressing the massive violent crime surge in Chicago” and efforts to create jobs for black Americans.

Kim Kardashian-West, who is married to the rapper, had previously raised the issue of pardons in a White House meeting of her own.

Before leaving the Oval Office for the lunch of roast chicken and potatoes West stood up and gave Mr Trump a hug, saying: “I love this man”.

If you want to read how the meeting unfolded, please see what was our live coverage below.

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load.

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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of today's meeting between President Donald Trump and Kanye West.

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 17:16
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Following a series of meetings between Kim Kardashian-West, senior White House officials and Donald Trump, her husband Kanye West will now too meet with the president. But what's on the agenda for today's meeting? Here's reporter Chris Riotta with more...

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 17:22
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The White House has released the lunch menu for today's meeting. Bon appétit, gentlemen.

Appetizer

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Main Course

Roasted Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes and Sautéed Asparagus

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 17:34
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Kanye West has arrived at the White House:

 

Chris Stevenson11 October 2018 17:46
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The meeting is now underway in the Oval Office of the White House.

According to a statement released by White House deputy press secretary, Hogan Gidley, the meeting will be about "urban revitalisation, the creation of Opportunity Zones, new workforce training programs, record highs in African American employment, the creation of manufacturing jobs, ideas from his meeting with African American pastors, potential future clemencies, and addressing the massive violent crime surge in Chicago."

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 17:55
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At the start of the meeting Kanye West gave the (still sitting) president a big hug. 

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 18:02
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Kanye is of course not the first West to attend an official meeting in the Oval Office. Kim Kardashian-West attended a series of discussions with the president and other White House officials that ultimately led to the release of Alice Johnson, who had been in prison on first-time drug charges since 1996. 

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

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 18:07
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Kanye West is currently giving a monologue to the president and gathered press about prison reform, speaking about his personal life and upbringing.

Lucy Anna Gray11 October 2018 18:13
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Mr Trump has called West "impressive" after an impassioned speech about the US need to have the "best" of everything.

Chris Stevenson11 October 2018 18:16
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"That was quite something," the president says.

Chris Stevenson11 October 2018 18:16

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