Kanye West, who recently announced he’s running for president this year, spoke with Forbes on a wide range of topics regarding his plan, which is described in the piece as “four rambling hours of interviews.”
He says he's not running as a Democrat or a Republican, but under the “Birthday Party” banner (“because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday”). He’s been receiving “guidance” from Elon Musk (“I proposed to him to be the head of our space program”), as well as advice from his wife, Kim Kardashian. And evidently he’s already chosen his vice presidential candidate: Michelle Tidball, a preacher from Wyoming. “I would run as a Republican if Trump wasn’t there,” he said. “I will run as an independent if Trump is there.”
Kanye has still not filed anything to officially declare his candidacy outside of his recent tweet and this interview. "I’m speaking with experts, I’m going to speak with Jared Kushner, the White House, with [Joe] Biden."
While he makes it clear he no longer supports Trump (“I am taking the red hat off, with this interview”), Kanye doesn’t go into much detail on why, saying, “It looks like one big mess to me,” and referencing the controversy of the president visiting the bunker in the White House amid protests. “I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker.”
He does speak at length about his issue with Joe Biden—who is described as “not special” compared to Trump, Barack Obama, and Kanye—and the Democratic party at large. “A lot of times just like political parties they feel all Blacks have to be Democrat. 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 rap. We gonna walk, all the people.”
He added: “That is a form of racism and white supremacy and white control to say that all Black people need to be Democrat and to assume that me running is me splitting the vote. All of that information is being charged up on social media platforms by Democrats.”
Kanye also claimed he’s been “threatened” by the Democratic party in the past. “Democrats used to tell me, the same Democrats have threatened me…. The reason why this is the first day I registered to vote is because I was scared. I was told that if I voted on Trump my music career would be over. I was threatened into being in one party. I was threatened as a celebrity into being in one party. I was threatened as a Black man into the Democratic party. And that’s what the Democrats are doing, emotionally, to my people. Threatening them to the point where this white man can tell a Black man if you don’t vote for me, you’re not Black.”
Throughout the interview, Kanye made a number of references to God, and seemed confident that the role of a higher power would take shape. “Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024—because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment.”
Kanye said he hasn’t done enough research to speak on taxes, and readily admits he’s a lightweight overall politically (“I have to say with all humility that as a man, I don’t have all of the pieces in the puzzle”). He did say he’s pro-life, against the death penalty, and that "Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work."
The topic of police brutality was also brought up, with Kanye discussing the George Floyd case and in particular Alexander Kueng, one of the four former cops involved who was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. “One of my to-do lists is to end police brutality. The police are people too. To end laws that don’t make sense,” Kanye said. “Like, in the George Floyd case, there was a Black guy that went to jail and it was his first day on the force. So if it’s your first day on the force and it’s your training day, and this OG accredited cop with 18 violations already starts filing out, are you going to jump in front of that person and lose your job that same day? Especially in this climate when 40,000 people lost their jobs? This man was put in a position where—and also he probably didn’t realize that the cop was going to take it that far, he probably was so scared, in shock, paralyzed, like so many Black people. I'm one of the few Black people that would speak openly like this.”
Kanye added he’s not running for president as a publicity stunt for his upcoming album, God’s Country. “I give my album away for free.”
You can read the full Forbes piece here, which gets into his thoughts on Black History Month, testing positive for COVID-19 in February (“I remember someone had told me Drake had the coronavirus and my response was Drake can’t be sicker than me!”), calling vaccines “the mark of the beast” (“It’s so many of our children that are being vaccinated and paralyzed… So when they say the way we’re going to fix Covid is with a vaccine, I’m extremely cautious”), and more.