“I feel dragon energy in the air,” Jimmy Kimmel said during his monologue Thursday night. That’s because, after grilling Kim Kardashian West about her husband’s “love” for Donald Trump just last week, he had Yeezus himself in the building.
It was Kanye West’s first major television since he stormed the TMZ offices back in May to declare that slavery was a “choice” and defend his seemingly unconditional support for the president.
Kimmel took his time getting around to the Trump issue, but once he did, he went all in. Dipping his toe in the water, he asked West if he would design uniforms for the president’s new Space Force if he were asked. “I’m into designing,” West said. Asked if he was ever worried about his wife being alone in the Oval Office with Trump, he smiled and replied, “Well, he is a player.”
But then came the big question: “Do you think he is a good president?”
Kimmel barely had to say anything after that as West took off on one of his epic monologues, at times rambling and confused and at others possibly brilliant. Instead of answering the question directly West talked about the “two main motivating factors” in life: “love and fear.”
“You can’t explain love,” West said, telling Kimmel that even when someone does a “bad thing,” you can still “love” them. Echoing his friend Candace Owens, he added, “Everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me. And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over, I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks are supposed to have a monolithic thought, we can only be Democrats.”
“It took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat, no matter what the consequences were.” West added, apparently referring to the red “MAGA” he posed in on Twitter. “And what it represented to me is nothing about policies, because I’m not a politician like that, but it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said, in saying, ‘You can’t bully me.’ Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me. At that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye. That’s what makes Ye.”
Later, West briefly addressed his comments about slavery, saying, “I think people focus too much on the past and focus too much on regret.” On the “slave idea,” he said he’s “heard of history class” but has “never heard of a future class, so they keep us so focused on history that we start to believe that it actually repeats itself and we become overly traditional. And we can’t advance as a race of beings.”
“Sometimes you just have to be fearless enough to break the fucking simulation,” West continued. As he sensed the audience’s excitement, he paused and told them, “I know you guys wanted to clap, but everything I’m going to say is going to be amazing.”
After explaining what he means by “the simulation” to Kimmel, West said his hope is that “one by one by one we can defuse this nuclear bomb of hate that we’re in as a society by thinking of everyone as our family.”
“I think that’s a beautiful thought, but in literal terms there are families being torn apart at the border of this country,” the host said. “There are literally families being torn apart as a result of what this president is doing. And I think that we cannot forget that, whether we like his personality or not, his actions are really what matter.”
Bringing the conversation around to West’s 2005 comments about the 43rd president, Kimmel told him, “I mean, you so famously and so powerfully said, ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people.’ It makes me wonder what makes you think that Donald Trump does, or any people at all?”
With arms crossed, West sat there for several seconds without saying a word. For once, he was completely speechless.
After a break, Kimmel ultimately decided to let West off the hook, never returning to that last question about Trump. But West’s inability to answer it spoke volumes.