Kanye West backed off of his support for President Trump, claimed he had a bout with COVID-19 in February, talked at length — if vaguely — about his own presidential campaign, slammed presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and plenty more in a sprawling four-hour interview with Forbes that published early Wednesday. He also shared his views on race, abortion and COVID-19 in comments frequently sprinkled with religious references, and said he has never voted.
The interview was West’s first since he announced late on July 4 that he is running for president, although he has apparently taken no official steps to confirm his candidacy at this point and has already missed deadlines for several states. He said his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, and Elon Musk are his chief advisors and that Michelle Tidball, a minister in his new home of Wyoming, will be his running mate. He says his political party is the Birthday Party — “When we win, it’s everybody’s birthday” — and his campaign slogan is “Kanye West YES. YES, not YEP, not YEAH. YES. YES. YES.”
He also suggested that the two presumptive main candidates, “Trump and Biden, gracefully bow out” of the race. “I just gracefully suggest y’all bow out.”
While he said he’s “taking the red hat off,” symbolizing withdrawing support for Trump’s campaign, he did say positive things about the president, describing him as “the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation,” although his administration “looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker,” he said, referring to reports that Trump hid in a White House safe room during protests last month in Washington, D.C.
He was unsparing in his criticism of Biden. “This man, Joe Biden, said if you don’t vote for me, then you are not black. Well, act like we didn’t hear that? We act like we didn’t hear that man say that? That man said that. It’s a wrap.”
“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.”
While he does explicitly say in the article that he was diagnosed with COVID-19, West says he likely had the illness in February. “Chills, shaking in the bed, taking hot showers, looking at videos telling me what I’m supposed to do to get over it. I remember someone had told me Drake had the coronavirus and my response was Drake can’t be sicker than me!”
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