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Kanye West: Ben Carson is "the most brilliant guy"

Kanye West at the VMAs, the night he announced his plans to run for president in 2020.
Kanye West at the VMAs, the night he announced his plans to run for president in 2020.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

In an excellent new interview with Vanity Fair's Dirk Standen, superstar Kanye West got political — teasing his own 2020 presidential bid and, surprisingly, heaping praise on Dr. Ben Carson's candidacy:

I want everyone to win. When I run for president, I'd prefer not to run against someone. I would be like "I want to work with you." As soon as I heard [Ben] Carson speak, I tried for three weeks to get on the phone with him. I was like this is the most brilliant guy. And I think all the people running right now have something that each of the others needs. But the idea of this separation and this gladiator battle takes away from the main focus that the world needs help and the world needs all the people in a position of power or influence to come together.

It's not entirely clear why West is so impressed with Carson in particular, but it appears to be because of Carson's positive, optimistic demeanor, in contrast to the "gladiator battle" among certain other candidates. (Note that this interview was conducted before Carson's recent controversial comment that a Muslim shouldn't be president.)

But this praise for Carson might come as a surprise to Hillary Clinton — since last month, West attended a fundraiser for her with his wife, Kim Kardashian:

It was just weeks after that when West declared at MTV's Video Music Awards that he had "decided, in 2020, to run for president" — perhaps inspired by the success of fellow celebrity Donald Trump. In the Vanity Fair interview, West says he's still intent on running, on a positive platform: "I sit in clubs and I'm like, Wow, I've got five years before I go and run for office and I've got a lot of research to do, I've got a lot of growing up to do."

It is not yet clear if West would run for president as a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent. Political scientists would say that he would face steep hurdles to winning a party primary, which you can read more about in my feature here.

Head over to Vanity Fair for the full transcript, including an update on West's progress on his eagerly awaited new album.

VIDEO: Ben Carson's closing speech at the Republican Debate

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