Kanye West spoke to Forbes about his Fourth of July tweet announcing his intention to run for president in what was described as “four hours of rambling interviews.”
During the conversation, the polarizing rap figure admitted he just registered to vote for the first time ever while pulling his support for Donald Trump after publicly (and loudly) backing him for years.
“It looks like one big mess to me,” he said. “I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker … I am taking the red hat off, with this interview.”
But like many suspected when he initially fired off the tweet, the notion this is all a rouse to help Trump get re-elected still feels like a possibility. While Kanye didn’t say much more about Trump, he had no problem bashing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“I’m not saying Trump’s in my way, he may be a part of my way,” he said. “And Joe Biden? Like come on man, please. You know? Obama’s special. Trump’s special. We say Kanye West is special. America needs special people that lead. Bill Clinton? Special. Joe Biden’s not special.”
Ye — who said he’ll be running as part of “The Birthday Party” — also denied this was a publicity stunt to promote his forthcoming album God’s Country, saying, “I give my albums away for free.”
In terms of his previous support for Trump, he explained, “Trump is the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation. One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community. Also, other than the fact that I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby.”
He then doubled down on previous comments he’s made about feeling pressured to be a Democrat simply because he’s Black, scoffing at the idea he’s trying to split the vote.
“That is a form of racism and white supremacy and white control to say that all Black people need to be Democrat and to assume that me running is me splitting the vote,” he explained. “All of that information is being charged up on social media platforms by Democrats. And Democrats used to tell me, the same Democrats have threatened me….
“The reason why this is the first day I registered to vote is because I was scared. I was told that if I voted on Trump my music career would be over. I was threatened into being in one party. I was threatened as a celebrity into being in one party. I was threatened as a Black man into the Democratic party. And that’s what the Democrats are doing, emotionally, to my people. Threatening them to the point where this white man can tell a Black man if you don’t vote for me, you’re not Black.”
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION
— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
Ultimately, Kanye says this was all God’s doing — who will also determine who wins in the 2020 election.
“God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time,” he said. “You know I was out there, ended up in the hospital, people were calling me crazy. I’m not crazy. Between all of the influences and the positions that we can be put in as musicians — you go on tour, you put out all these albums, and you look up and you don’t have any money in your account.
“It can drive you crazy, through all of that I was looking crazy because it wasn’t the time. Now it’s time. And we’re not going crazy, we’re going Yeezy, it’s a whole ‘notha level now. N-O-T-H-A.”
He added, “Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024—because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment.”
Kanye discussed a bevy of other topics, including COVID-19, George Floyd, abortion (he’s pro-life), capital punishment and police killings. He revealed his campaign slogan, as well which is simply, “YES.”
“Well my second album is called Late Registration. I got a rap … The other thing is, my campaign is Kanye West YES, not YEP, not YEAH. YES. YES. YES… When I’m president, let’s also have some fun. Let’s get past all the racism conversation, let’s empower people with 40 acres and a mule, let’s give some land, that’s the plan.”
Despite Ye’s intention to run in the November 2020 election, CNN reports he hasn’t taken any official steps. With the election less than four months away, he would still need to register with the Federal Election Commission, present a campaign platform and gather enough signatures to get on the ballot — none of which he’s done.
He’s also missed the deadline to file as an independent candidate in many states, including New Mexico, Indiana, New York, Maine, North Carolina and Texas.