Apropos of nothing immediately apparent other than the national holiday, Kanye West took to social media Saturday night to announce that he is running for president… in 2020.
“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,” he wrote, followed by the hashtag “2020VISION” and the emblem of an Amercican flag.
That was the entirety of his president declaration, which arrived sans press release or other statements, much less a platform, for an election four months away.
Some on Twitter greeted the announcement with a degree of skepticism about West’s real intentions of mounting an independent campaign this close to election day. Not among the skeptics, though: Elon Musk, who tweeted in response: “You have my full support!”
West’s own website bore no information about a presidential run as of this writing.
West has not been shy about setting forth presidential ambitions before. In 2015, during a famously wide-ranging acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards, he said, “As you probably could have guessed by this moment, in 2020 I have decided to run for president.” Although he seemed to be serious at the time, viewers also took into account that West admitted he was under the influence of weed at the time. (“Y’all might be thinking right now, ‘I wonder: Did he smoke something before he came out here?’ The answer is yes, I rolled up a little something.”)
This does, at least for the moment, seem to settle the question of whether West intends to vote for Donald Trump in the fall, as he has suggested he would, as one of the foremost Black supporters of the president in recent years.
“And we know who I’m voting on,” West had said in a length profile published in GQ magazine in April. “And I’m not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over. Because guess what: I’m still here!” West, who once wore a MAGA hat to a meeting with the president, also said in that interview that in some ways, conditions had improved under Trump’s presidency: “”I buy real estate. It’s better now than when Obama was in office. They don’t teach you in school about buying property. They teach you how to become somebody’s property.”
More recently, West had used social media to align himself with marchers, suggesting that he was no longer in line with Trump on all things.
The rapper/mogul has recently devoted 100% of his musical output to Christian music. This includes a brand new single with Travis Scott, “Wash Us in the Blood,” although, as the New York Times noted in a review, the fresh song is more “lyrically impressionistic, with nods to mass incarceration and other moral concerns.”
West also has an album on the way this year, “God’s Country,” with a release date so far unrevealed. Maybe… Nov. 3?