President Donald Trump stoked his budding bromance with Kanye West in a speech to the National Rifle Association on Friday, in which he credited the musician with helping him win over African-American voters.
“Kanye West must have some power because you probably saw I doubled my African-American poll numbers,” Trump said. “We went from 11 to 22 in one week.”
Trump might have been referring to an April 29 Reuters poll that showed his approval rating with black men — not black respondents overall — rising to 22 percent from 11 percent the week before. The president added pollsters might be skeptical of the result, but that “we’ve come a long way.”
“Thank you, Kanye, thank you!” Trump said.
West, who met with Trump during his transition, has showered praise on the president in recent days, drawing ire from fans who say he’s glossing over the president’s longhistory of inflammatory rhetoric around race.
You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
In a new single “Ye Vs. The People” with rapper T.I. released this week, West raps “Make America Great Again had a negative perception/I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction” and “See, that’s the problem with this damn nation/All blacks gotta be Democrats, man/We ain’t made it off the plantation.”
West also gave an interview with TMZ in which he called slavery “a choice,” drawing a wave of condemnation on social media and from the NAACP.
Trump has previously acknowledged West’s support, thanking him on Twitter last month.