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Kanye West to talk prison reform, gang violence at White House

  • FILE- In this Sept. 7, 2018, file photo Kanye West attends the Ralph Lauren 50th Anniversary Event held at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park during New York Fashion Week in New York. President Donald Trump has panned Saturday Night Live's season premiere but tweeted praise for Kanye West. As the show ended, West took the stage wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and made an unscripted pro-Trump speech after the credits rolled. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File) Brent N. Clarke



Washington Post
Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Kanye West is coming to the White House.

The rap star is scheduled to meet Thursday morning with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then have lunch with Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Tuesday.

The visit is the latest development in a budding relationship between Trump and West, who met at Trump Tower in New York during the 2016 presidential transition and have exchanged flattering tweets over the past year.

West also made headlines last month for a pro-Trump speech at the end of his appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” which didn’t make the air. West donned a red “Make America Great Again” hat for much of his time as the musical guest on the Sept. 29 season premiere.

The meeting with Kushner is expected to focus on criminal justice issues, which fall under his purview as a senior adviser to the president.

In a statement, Sanders said topics of discussion with Trump “will include manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago.”

Trump told reporters early Tuesday evening that West would also be bringing Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown to the White House on Thursday.

“He’s been a terrific guy,” Trump said of West. “He loves what we’re doing for African American jobs, for so many different things. Median income, as you see, is at an all-time high; poverty level at the best rate, meaning the lowest rate. And Kanye is a smart guy, and he sees that.”

In a speech to a gathering of law enforcement officers Monday, Trump urged that police in Chicago implement the policy of “stop and frisk” to curb the gun violence that is plaguing the nation’s third-largest city.

West - who recently declared that he should now be called “Ye” - will not be the first member of his family to the White House.

In July, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a Tennessee woman serving a life term for nonviolent drug offenses, after he and Kushner met with West’s wife, reality star and socialite Kim Kardashian West, to discuss the case.

Trump has on several occasions cited his friendly relationship with West in appeals to black Americans, who sided overwhelmingly in the 2016 election with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this year, West took to Twitter to defend his views about Trump - which have prompted a backlash from some of his fans. In multiple tweets, he called Trump “my brother” and said the two share “dragon energy.”

During his “Saturday Night Live” appearance, West sought to tamp down criticism about his relationship with the president.

“There’s so many times I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say, ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, uh, if I was concerned about racism, I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago,” West said.

He has previously said he would have voted for Trump – if he had voted.