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Trump, Kanye West trade complimentary tweets

In a moment that seemed to encapsulate 2018’s social media-driven blurring of celebrity and politics, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his thanks to rap superstar Kanye West on Wednesday for his recent and perhaps unexpected online support.

“Thank you Kanye, very cool!” the president posted in response to the tweets from West, who called the president “my brother.”

West, the enigmatic hip hop provocateur, posted a series of tweets in support of the president, whom he visited at Trump Tower in December 2016 during the presidential transition.

“You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy,” West wrote Wednesday.

The rap star also posted a photo of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

But in one tweet he noted that his wife, reality star Kim Kardashian West, wanted him to make clear that he did not agree “with everything Trump does.”

Kardashian West, meanwhile, defended her husband as a “free thinker” while criticizing unspecified media outlets for suggesting his behaviour is linked to poor mental health.

“Mental Health is no joke and the media needs to stop spitting that out so casually,” she wrote in one of several tweets. 

West has lent an air of celebrity to Trump, who has not been nearly as popular among movie and music stars as his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump complained about struggling to lure big-name talent to his inauguration and made a point of calling Roseanne Barr, a rare supporter of his in Hollywood, for the recent success of her sitcom.

West has been linked to several previous presidents, including Obama, who called him “a jackass” in 2009 for storming the stage at an MTV awards show to interrupt Taylor Swift. And in 2005, during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, West criticized the White House’s response to the storm by famously charging that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

There was quick backlash to West on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Kanye doesn’t care about black people,” tweeted comedian Akilah Hughes.

But others were quick to embrace West.

Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, tweeted three American flags next to West’s declaration of dragon energy. His brotherm Donald Trump Jr.m appropriated Hillary Clinton’s slogan, “(hashtag)ImWithHer,” when he retweeted a Kardashian West post in which she denounced the media for calling the rap superstar erratic. And InfoWars host Alex Jones, a conspiracy theory promoter, invited West onto his show.

West has toyed with running for president himself and on Wednesday tweeted a poster of his face emblazoned with the slogan “Keep America Great” and “(hashtag)Kanye2024.”

Coincidentally or not, West also tweeted earlier this week that he has a new album coming out this summer.

CBC | Arts News