Elon Musk says he tried to convince Kanye West to stand for president in 2024

Tesla founder tells The New York Times he checked in on rapper after public breakdown at rally

Kate Ng
Sunday 26 July 2020 12:55 BST
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington (AP)

Elon Musk encouraged rapper Kanye West to run for the US presidency, but did his “best to convince him that 2024 would be better”, he has revealed in an interview.

Speaking to The New York Times, the Tesla founder spoke about his friendship with West, who recently suffered a public breakdown during his first campaign rally in South Carolina.

Mr Musk said he tried to convince the artist, who announced his bid for presidency earlier this month, that running this year may lead to accusations of him trying to split the black vote with Democrat candidate Joe Biden.

The two have known each other for “at least 10 years, maybe longer”, said Mr Musk, and text “fairly often”.

After West’s breakdown and subsequent tweet storm, where he claimed his wife Kim Kardashian-West had tried to get him hospitalised, Mr Musk said he reached out to check on his friend.

“When he was about a third of the way through the tweet rampage, just to see if he was doing OK, I sent him a text saying, you know, just checking on you, a lot of people are worried, just wondering if you’re OK,” Mr Musk was quoted as saying.

“And he called me back and he actually seemed fine. He video FaceTimed me and he was in Wyoming with a bunch of friends. He seemed fine on the call. But it sounds like things are, you know, not fine. There seem to be a lot of issues.”

Mr West lives with bipolar disorder. Following his series of tweets, which were quickly deleted, Kardashian-West wrote in a statement on Instagram: “As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder. Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand.”

The wide-ranging interview with Mr Musk covered his life as father to his two-month-old child, X Æ A-Xii, with singer Grimes. It comes after his electric car-making company became the world’s most valuable car company with a nearly US$300 billion valuation.

He also questioned if Joe Biden’s “mental faculties” all there, and added: “It would be helpful to see him in a debate scenario or something like that. Does he have his stuff together or not? I can’t tell.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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