Kanye West followed in his wife Kim Kardashian’s footsteps and met with Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday.
“Kanye has been a friend of mine for a long time,” Trump said during the meeting in the Oval Office ahead of lunch with the rapper.
And while the meeting appeared to be full of hugs, MAGA hats and laughs, West also gave an impassioned 10-minute speech to Trump about a number of issues including manufacturing, prison reform, preventing gang violence and reducing violence in Chicago.
The New York Times reported earlier this week that the rapper had bagged himself a meeting with Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He’s expected to meet Kushner first before having lunch with Trump. Former NFL player Jim Brown will also join.
Trump discussed the meeting on Fox & Friends, saying of West: “I like him [West] a lot, I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a different kind of a guy. Those in the music business say he’s a genius and that’s ok with me. He’s a private guy and he wants to help people. His wife, who is terrific, Kim, is the one who brought the attention to Mrs. [Alice] Johnson.”
He added of prison reform and Johnson’s release, “She had another 22 years to serve, she was in there for 20 years. She’s the most incredible woman. Maybe it was a different time, a different age, but we do need reform.
“That doesn’t mean easy, we’re going to make certain categories tougher when it comes to drug dealing and other things. It’s very unfair right now, it’s very unfair to African-Americans, it’s very unfair to everybody.”
West reportedly wants to discuss job opportunities for former convicts, as well as how he can increase the number of manufacturing jobs in the Chicago area, which is where he grew up.
Trump’s comments come after it was revealed that the “Jesus Walks” artist would also be joining him for the U.S. President the Music Modernization Act (MMA), sources told Billboard. Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow and Recording Industry Association of America President Mitch Glazier are among those attending.
Kid Rock was also present at the signing ceremony on Thursday at the White House.
West hit headlines last month for going on a rant about Trump as the credits began to roll during his “Saturday Night Live” appearance. He also got people talking after, once again, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
West’s wife, Kardashian, visited the White House for a second time at the start of September after taking an interest in Chris Young, a man who was sentenced to life in prison for marijuana and cocaine possession after being arrested in 2010. She’s hoping to get him released.
In June, the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star convinced Trump to pardon Alice Marie Johnson — a 63-year-old who was serving a life sentence for a first time nonviolent drug offence — after meeting with him a month before.
ET Canada has contacted West’s rep for further comments.