The sight of President-elect Donald Trump meeting rapper and artist Kanye West in the gaudy lobby of Trump Tower was absolutely jarring to see.
But in many ways, the two men are remarkably similar: They both tweet maniacally, inspiring media frenzies with the simple push of a button; they both obsessively value beautiful women as perhaps the only more attractive objects than themselves; and, for now at least, they both have blond hair.
On Tuesday morning, West was spotted walking into Trump Tower in New York City, with an entourage and videographer with him. Then the two emerged, after a brief meeting, from an elevator together and strolled toward a curious press pool.
The two scheduled the meeting because Trump “is going to be president for all Americans,” Trump transition team communications director Jason Miller told The Daily Beast. “[Kanye] has had positive things to say about the president-elect,” and Trump is interested in “putting together coalitions” and wants to “reach out to people both from traditional and nontraditional political viewpoints,” Miller added.
In response to an initial question in the lobby about what the hell just happened, Trump said “just friends, just friends.” He then pointed to West, standingly silently with his arms crossed, and said “good man.”
As reporters shouted questions at the unlikely duo, Trump said “we’ve been friends for a long time,” as West kept silent guard. When asked what the two of them discussed, Trump simply said “life.”
West was asked if he plans on performing at the inauguration and after a long and awkward pause in which the two men looked at each other as if to see if one could come up with an answer, West just smiled and said “I’m here to take a picture right now.”
As West departed a few moments later, he gave Trump a handshake—he dapped him up—in the most awkward interaction of politics and hip-hop since Hillary Clinton “hit the dab” on Ellen. Trump then tapped the rapper on the shoulders in the way an approving middle-school football coach would before sending a player into the game.
The meeting was not explained any further on a subsequent daily transition call with Miller.
“The president-elect and Mr. West spoke with reporters in the lobby at Trump Tower,” Miller said. “When I see the president-elect, I’ll definitely ask him because I’m curious as well.”
Later in the day, however, tweets from Kanye West's account alleged that “he wanted to meet with Trump...to discuss multicultural issues” as well as ongoing violence in Chicago. He also alluded to the idea that he would run for president 2024, suggesting West believes Trump will be a two-term president.
Trump, both as president-elect and as celebrity real-estate mogul, has always enjoyed public displays of flattery toward him, and he falls in love when it comes from a fellow celeb. Earlier this fall, West told fans in San Jose, on the second leg of his Saint Pablo tour, that he would’ve voted for Trump if he’d cast a ballot: “I said something that was kind of politically correct. I told y’all I didn’t vote, right? What I didn’t tell you… If I were to have voted, I would have voted on Trump.”
Shortly afterward, the rapper was hospitalized for what was reportedly a mental breakdown.
West has repeatedly said he plans to run for president in 2020. Trump, for his part, even praised West on the campaign trail late last year—even though in 2009 Trump publicly called for a boycott of all things Kanye West because West was so mean to Taylor Swift.
“I’ll never say bad [things] about [Kanye West],” Trump claimed, incorrectly, last year. “You know why? Because he loves Trump. He loves Trump. He goes around saying, ‘Trump is my all-time hero.’ He says it to everybody.”