Kanye West and Donald Trump met for lunch today and engaged in conversation that ranged from crime in Chicago, taxes, the 13th Amendment, North Korea, gun rights, and prison reform. Also name dropped: the Unabomber, Superman, the Soho House, Adidas, and Levi's. Equally prominent on West's mind? A topic that Trump loves as well — masculinity.
At one point in his nearly 10-minute-long monologue, West explained why he preferred Trump's campaign to Hillary Clinton's — the slogan of which was "I'm With Her." He said Clinton's campaign alienated him "as a guy" and that growing up with a single mother, he didn't have a lot of "masculine energy" in his home. One wonders how West's mother, Donda, who left her position as the Chair of the Department of English and Speech at Chicago State University to manage her son's career and later authored a book about raising her son with strong moral values, might react to this most recent summation of his childhood.
West said that Trump's MAGA campaign made him feel like "Superman" (his favorite superhero), and inspired him to "play catch with his son." West's son Saint is two-years-old.
This, for Kanye, appears to be very simple. Trump's macho attitude appeals to him, and Hillary's gender-specific campaign didnt appeal to him — I've heard that 1,000 times from other male Trump supporters. Those looking for a nuanced answer from Kanye were never going to get one.— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) October 11, 2018
West went on to explain that the family he'd married into — the Kardashians — didn't have a lot "male energy going on" which prompted a hearty laugh from the president. West's wife, Kim Kardashian, recently had a meeting with the president and his senior advisor Jared Kushner in which she successfully advocated for the pardon of Alice Marie Johnson, a low level drug offender who had been sentenced to life. As West's meeting with Trump drew to a close it was unclear whether it had prompted any actionable change of this kind.
What was clear was that Trump and West have found in one another a kindred spirit. Trump praised West as a "smart cookie" and a "special guy." West told Trump that he loved him and referenced the "balls" it took for him to publicly support the president.
Coming on the heels of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's angry, beer referencing rant in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this meeting might have seemed almost tame — even comical — if weren't for the subtle but constant references to the importance of masculinity in a world leader. West complimented Trump's "no bullshit" approach to politics. It's a statement echoed often by his supporters and seems to refer to the president's often ill-informed, bullying, distinctly male way of dealing with world leaders, fellow lawmakers, and the press.
At recent rallies, Trump has mocked sexual assault survivors and led supporters on a chant of "lock her up" in reference to Senator Diane Feinstein. The chant, which originally referred to Hillary Clinton, is now a seeming catch all for all "difficult" women.
It's worth asking — is this the "masculine energy" that West professes to admire so much?