Maybe it was a way to juice up a slow news weekend. Or maybe he was tired of all the attention Hamilton was getting. Or maybe it was a way to compete with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who had just announced that Coty had bought a 20 per cent stake in her beauty company for $200 million, valuing it as roughly $1 billion.
But on Saturday night—yes, July 4th—Kanye West tweeted to out to his 29.5 million followers that he was 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 #2020VISION," Kanye tweeted, adding an image of an American flag to his statement. By Sunday morning, it had gotten more than 450,000 retweets. (Among those retweeting it: His wife.)
Of course, there is much to suggest that perhaps the 43-year-old rapper is not entirely serious. It's too late for him to enter the Democratic primaries, after all, and running as an independent would be just as improbable. With less than six months before the general election, West would have to quickly pull together a national organisation to help him get on the ballots of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And as Bloomberg pointed out this morning, citing its review of Federal Election Commission documents, West doesn’t appear to have filed any forms with the FEC that would enable him to run for office.
But it is true that West has publicly floated the idea of running for president in the past, telling one audience last year that he had his sights set on the 2024 election. (In 2018, he donned a "Make America Great Again" hat for a meeting with Donald Trump, telling reporters: “I love this guy right here.” Kardashian has also visited the Oval Office, seeking Trump’s help in parole reform.)
Among the first to respond to Kanye's news was Elon Musk, who tweeted, "You have my full support!"
Others were less enthusiastic, with most doubting the seriousness of the news and speculating it was just done to generate enthusiasm for a long-promised new album. (West recently released his first single of 2020, ‘Wash Us In The Blood’.)
As David Gardner, a writer for The Bleacher Report put it: "Kanye West isn’t really gonna run for President, but his next album will be called Presidential Dropout." Tweeted the fashion writer @Pam_Boy: "Just woke up to the news that Kanye West is running for president and I just want to go back to bed." And the best-selling author Don Winslow tweeted, "I wouldn't trust @kaynewest to run a hot dog stand." Added Winslow, "I hope and trust this is BS. We'll see." Meanwhile Joyce Alene, the former US Attorney and frequent MSNBC contributor simply tweeted, "Ignore Kanye."
But perhaps the New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb put it best when he tweeted, "I’d like to announce that I’m running—away from any information related to Kanye West."
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