Politics

Kanye West to visit Trump at White House

Then president-elect Donald Trump, left, and musician Kanye West met in 2016.
John Taggart/Bloomberg
Then president-elect Donald Trump, left, and musician Kanye West met in 2016.

President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are expected to meet with musician Kanye West on Thursday at the White House, two people familiar with the plans said.

West, who has faced a backlash over his vocal support of the president, will meet first with Kushner and then have lunch with the president, the two people said.

Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to Trump, has been focused on overhauling the criminal justice system, and one person briefed on the meeting said that West wanted to discuss the availability of job opportunities for former convicts. He also hopes to discuss with Trump how to increase the number of manufacturing jobs in the Chicago area, where West grew up and recently said he planned to return, according to the person briefed on the meeting.

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A representative for West confirmed the meeting. A White House spokeswoman did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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Trump and Kushner recently met with West’s wife, celebrity Kim Kardashian West, about sentencing overhauls. It was at her urging that Trump commuted the life sentence of Alice Johnson, an African-American woman serving time in a drug-related case.

The president and West met during Trump’s transition before he was sworn into office. The two have also traded praise during Trump’s presidency, providing the president a rare A-list celebrity ally.

The latest meeting comes after West wore one of the president’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats during a recent “Saturday Night Live” appearance, where the rap musician also delivered a defense of Trump to the live audience once the program’s closing credits started rolling.

Trump proudly mentioned West’s “Saturday Night Live” appearance at a rally last Monday in Tennessee. But West’s commentary disappointed some of his fans, who have asked how he can continue to support Trump amid a slew of incendiary, and often racially charged, statements by the president.

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They include Trump’s criticism of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest of police brutality toward African-Americans. Trump has denounced such protests, and he has sought to make the controversy a cultural touchstone with his supporters.

West recently said he hoped to introduce Kaepernick to Trump.

Trump called West “a terrific guy” on Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s been a terrific guy. He loves what we’re doing for African-American jobs, for so many different things.”