Rapper Kanye West sat across from President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday and delivered a rambling, 10-minute speech that touched on mental health, the importance of job growth, and Montessori curriculums, and referred to the 13th Amendment (the amendment abolishing slavery) as a “trap door.”
West, who has become one of Trump’s most prominent celebrity supporters, came to the White House on Thursday to speak to Trump about prison reform. But the day turned into much more than that, including a White House lunch on Thursday afternoon and a meeting witnessed by the press.
West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, has been an effective advocate before the president, including getting Trump to issue a pardon. But the meeting between Trump and Kanye — two celebrities who both love the spotlight — was much weirder.
What followed was an extended rant from Kanye, a snippet of which was captured on film and tweeted out by Wall Street Journal reporter Vivian Salama.
Kenya in the Oval Office, right now pic.twitter.com/rBblM0jFOZ— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) October 11, 2018
“There’s a lot of things affecting our mental health that makes us do crazy things that puts us back into that trap door called the 13th Amendment,” West said, gesticulating wildly. “I did say abolish with the hat on, because why would you keep something that’s a trap door?”
He then went further into his metaphor.
“If you’re building a floor — the Constitution is the base of our industry, of our country, of our company, right?” he said. “Would you build a trap door that if you mess up, and you accidentally — something happens, you fall and you end up next to the Unabomber? You gotta remove all that trap door out of the relationship. The four gentleman that wrote the 13th Amendment — and I think the way the universe works, it’s perfect! We don’t have 13 floors.”
This is not the first time West has made controversial statements about the 13th Amendment. As Vox’s P.R. Lockhart wrote:
In April, West was slammed for saying that slavery was “a choice” that resulted from black people being “mentally imprisoned.” More recently, he sparked a controversy when he called for abolishing the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States. West later clarified that he actually wanted to modify the amendment’s allowance of prison labor rather than abolish it entirely.
Among other things, Kanye said on Thursday that he has been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and insisted he is simply “sleep-deprived” instead.
Per pooler @agearan, Kanye West "is currently on an extended soliloquy that included saying he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Said that was a mis-diagnosis and he is sleep-deprived" while in the Oval Office.— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) October 11, 2018
An image from Agence France-Press photographer Saul Loeb depicts Kanye showing Trump a photo from his phone of a hydrogen-powered plane:
Kanye West showed Trump a picture of a hydrogen-powered plane pic.twitter.com/ysFI201HV6— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) October 11, 2018
He also told Trump and reporters that experiencing his speech in the White House was akin to “tasting a fine wine,” according to White House pool reporter Anne Gearan of the Washington Post.
“You are tasting a fine wine,” West said. “It has complex notes to it.”
Trump seemed interested in having West, a vocal supporter, speak for him in the future.
“He can speak for me any time he wants,” Trump said. “He’s a smart cookie. He gets it.”
At the end of his speech, West got up and embraced the president, who was sitting in his chair. And he had apparently left the typically verbose Trump with little to say.
“That was quite something,” Trump concluded at the end of West’s 10-minute speech.
“It was from the soul. I just channeled it,” West replied.
Follow up pool report:— Tessa Berenson (@tcberenson) October 11, 2018
"“I tell you what that was pretty impressive,” Trump says after Kanye’s nearly 10-minute statement.
“That was quite something.”
Kanye: “it was from the soul. I just channeled it.”" https://t.co/NrLiivhpvp
Asked if Kanye would be a future presidential candidate, Trump answered, “He could very well be,” according to Gearen’s pool report.
“Only after 2024,” Kanye added.
Then Kanye continued, per Gearen: “Let’s stop worrying about the future. All we have is today,” later saying, “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. He might not have thought he’d have a crazy motherfucker like [me].”