While former president Obama once called Kanye West a “jackass” for his odd behavior at a music awards program, the rapper was welcomed with open arms by President Trump, a man most black people consider an unapologetic racist, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Although West is a mega-million-dollar rapper, married to reality TV royalty, he couldn’t get past the White House gates when Obama was in office. Trump gave West a warm reception, describing him as a “smart cookie” despite his ramblings, and even suggesting that West could be a serious presidential candidate some day.
West was joined by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and the attorney for imprisoned gang chief Larry Hoover for a meeting that was supposed to focus on criminal justice issues. When the Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet asked West about his ideas for reducing crime in Chicago, West said he disagreed with the president’s call for more aggressive “stop and frisk” searches by Chicago police and launched into a defense of Hoover, the leader of the Gangster Disciples who is serving six life sentences for running a drug empire. “Really, the reason why they imprisoned him is because he started doing positive for the community. He started showing he actually had power. … He wasn’t just one of a monolithic voice, that he could wrap people around,” he said. West was just four years old when Hoover was charged in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a rival gang member in 1973. Hoover was accused of ordering the hit, and was convicted and sentenced to 15 to 200 years in prison. West seems to be making the case that pardoning Hoover would somehow reduce the crime in Chicago.