Donald Trump

Kanye West to have lunch with Donald Trump at White House

Rapper has defended his friendship with president after a backlash from fans, saying on Twitter he was ‘brother’ and the two share ‘dragon energy’. He is expected to discuss prison reform and gang violence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2018, 10:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 12:18am

Kanye West is expected to meet on Thursday morning with US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then have lunch with Trump, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The visit is the latest development in a budding relationship between Trump and West, who met at Trump Tower in New York during the 2016 presidential transition and have exchanged flattering tweets over the past year.

West also made headlines last month for a pro-Trump speech at the end of his appearance on Saturday Night Live, which did not make the broadcast. West donned a red “Make America Great Again” hat for much of his time as the musical guest on the September 29 series premiere.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “Kanye West is coming to the White House to have lunch with President Trump and he will also meet with Jared Kushner.

“Topics of discussions will include manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago.”

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West – who grew up in Chicago and recently declared he should now be called “Ye” – will not be the first member of his family at the White House.

In July, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a Tennessee woman serving a life term for nonviolent drug offences, after he and Kushner met West’s wife, reality star and socialite Kim Kardashian West, to discuss the case.

Trump has on several occasions cited his friendly relationship with West in appeals to black Americans, who in the 2016 election sided overwhelming with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this year, West took to Twitter to defend his views about Trump – which have prompted a backlash from some of his fans. In multiple tweets, he called Trump “my brother” and said the two share “dragon energy”.

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During his Saturday Night Live appearance, West sought to tamp down criticism about his relationship with Trump.

“There’s so many times I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say, ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, uh, if I was concerned about racism, I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago,” West said.

He has previously said he would have voted for Trump – if he had voted.