WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump praised Kanye West on Thursday for having “good taste” for supporting the president.
Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” that he knew the rapper “a little bit” and always got along with him, and said West has noticed the low unemployment rate for black Americans.
“He sees that stuff and he’s smart and he says, ‘You know what, Trump is doing a much better job than the Democrats did,'” the president said.
West recently offered his support for Trump in a series of tweets, saying they both share “dragon energy.” That caused a backlash among other public figures who oppose the president.
In a tweet Thursday, West wrote that while hate is a similar emotion to love, “hate is not the answer.”
He also tweeted a link to a TMZ.com story about himself with a headline that described West as “the opposite of erratic.” The story noted that West is releasing a new album in the coming months.
Trump’s re-election campaign quickly moved to raise money off the attention, applauding “free thinker” West in a text message to supporters and encouraging them to buy red “Make America Great Again” hats.
“Group think is a mandate in today’s society and when a free thinker like Kanye West speaks truth, they attack him,” read the text. “We support Kanye speaking his mind, even if sometimes we do not agree on the issues.”
West has toyed with running for president himself and on Wednesday tweeted a poster of his face emblazoned with the slogan “Keep America Great” and “#Kanye2024.”
He has recorded several best-selling albums and produced a buzzy fashion line and has the undeniable talent for attracting attention. He’s also been linked to several previous presidents — Barack Obama called him “a jackass” in 2009 for storming the stage at an MTV awards show to interrupt Taylor Swift.
In 2005, during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, West criticized the White House’s response to the storm by famously charging that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people.”