During his White House press conference, the president was asked directly about claims that GOP operatives are trying to help the rapper’s election bid in swing states.
While denying any knowledge of such a plan, Trump gushed about Kanye’s wife Kim, saying the reality TV star and criminal justice reform activist has a “good heart.”
On Aug. 4 both The New York Times and Vice reported that Lane Ruhland, a lawyer with ties to Trump’s campaign, allegedly delivered signatures to Wisconsin election officials so that he could appear on the ballot. The suggestion being that Republican activists are trying to divert votes away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden by helping Kanye.
During Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing a reporter raised the issue with Trump, saying that “at least two people connected to Kanye West’s effort to get on the ballot have been connected to the Republican Party.” The reporter noted that it comes at a time when Kim “has raised issues about whether he’s having mental issues right now.”
Trump, 74, denied knowing about any such efforts, instead gushing about the celebrity couple. “I like him. He’s always been very nice to me,” the president said about Kanye who has bipolar disorder. When asked if he is “aware of” or has “encouraged, anyone in the party to help him get on the ballot, including in swing states,” Trump again tried to deflect the question. “No, not at all. Other than I get along with him very well. I like him.”
“I like his wife,” Trump added, in the video clip below. “His wife recommended certain people – as you know for, including Alice Johnson who’s a remarkable woman – but his wife recommended certain people to get out of prison. They were in prison for a long time, a long, long time. It should have never happened. I took what she said very strong…Kim Kardashian. And she’s got a good heart, very good heart. And I like Kanye very much.”
GOP operatives are helping Kanye West's attempts to get on state ballots for the election. Trump says he has played no part in encouraging West's potential presidential run: "I like Kanye very much. I have nothing to do with him getting on the ballot." https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/AazZez66Mp
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 5, 2020
Trump then finally answered the question and denied any involvement in any plot to aid Kanye’s White House bid. “No, I don’t have anything to do with him getting on the ballot,” he said. “We’ll have to see what happens. We’ll see if he gets on the ballot but I’m not involved.”
HollywoodLife has reached out to both Lane Ruhland and the Republican Party for comment on the allegations made in The New York Times and Vice reports. “There’s no conflict to waive but we have no knowledge of anything Kanye West is doing or who is doing it for him,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 Communications Director told us. Ruhland has yet to respond to our comment request.
Kanye announced his 2020 presidential bid in a July 4 tweet. The “Birthday Party” candidate’s campaign has so far created headlines after the rapper posted a series of erratic tweets, including one telling his 30.7 million followers that he’s been trying to divorce his wife. He also cried during a South Carolina campaign rally admitting that he and Kim discussed aborting their eldest child when they found out they were going to have a baby. They now have four children together – North, 7, Saint, 4, Chicago, 2, and Psalm, 1.
On July 22 Kim addressed Kanye’s mental health in a lengthy statement shared on her social media channels. “As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar [sic] disorder. Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand.”