BOSTON (CBS) — “I love this guy right here, let me give this guy a hug,” said pop star Kanye West as he rounded the desk in the Oval Office and enveloped President Trump in an embrace.
The cameras love it, and this was the takeaway from their televised meeting that Trump lovers will love and Trump haters will hate. But there was more to this meeting than that.
The president’s adversaries could learn something from Kanye’s explanation of what drew him to candidate Trump during the campaign.
“I love Hillary, I love everyone right?” he said. “But the campaign ‘I’m with her’ just didn’t make me feel like a guy who didn’t get to see my dad all the time, like a guy who could play catch with his son. It was something about when I put this [“Make America Great Again”] hat on, it made me feel like Superman.”
That sense of empowerment remains on display at the president’s rallies, an antidote to political alienation on the right.
More Kanye: “With blacks and African Americans, we really get caught up in the idea of racism over the idea of industry. We say if people don’t have land they settle for brand.”
That’s an emphasis on black economic empowerment that is shared by many Democrats and has plenty of precedent. Singer James Brown endorsed Richard Nixon for re-election in 1972, citing Nixon administration investments in minority businesses as a key reason.
But is there real hope that Kanye can turn his friendship with this president into meaningful policy changes?
“We feel that stop and frisk does not help the relationship in the city,” Kanye said, raising an important issue to the man who has encouraged police to get “rough” with suspects. But all he got was a non-answer: “I’m open-minded, I’m here.”
Back in June, Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, got a woman’s drug crime sentence commuted with a personal appeal to the president. But Kanye’s agenda is far more expansive and, in some cases, in direct opposition to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, making similar success unlikely at best