One of the many baffling phenomena of the Trump era has been the readiness of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to hang out with the president, despite his overt and well-documented racism and sexism.
The process will reach its peak Thursday when Kanye West drops in for lunch and then witnesses the signing of a new bill to update the way music royalties are paid to take account of the effect of streaming services.
Kim, of course, has already made calls at the White House, famously with her photo op with Trump (who once said she had a “fat ass”) as part of her successful campaign to secure a pardon for a grandmother caught up in a drug conspiracy.
Many sympathetic observers suspected Kardashian was merely holding her nose to secure an unjustly imprisoned person’s freedom. Her public pronouncements on Trump have been notably short of ringing endorsements; for example, the most positive thing she said to Jimmy Kimmel was that she had “nothing bad to say about the president.” West, on the other hand, has offered enthusiastic support for Trump and it has been deeply troubling to many of his fans and peers.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are so disturbed by the friendship with Trump that they have reportedly cut all ties with Kim and Kanye. West’s tirade in support of Trump on the set of Saturday Night Live—in which he not only minimized Trump’s racism but also suggested it was something he could ignore if he liked other parts of his policy platform—was reportedly the final straw.
Sample Ye quote from that event: “It’s so many times that I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say, ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’ Well if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago. We don’t just make our decisions off of racism. I’m gonna break it down to you right now: If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all their policies.”
Several reports suggest that when West is at the White House today, Trump will sign the Music Modernization Act, which the House and Senate have already passed, and which updates licensing and royalties to artists, songwriters, and producers for music played on streaming services.
Kanye and Recording Academy President Neil Portnow will both be present for the ceremonial signing of the bill, which could put more money in Kanye’s pocket.
And Taylor Swift’s.
The signing will come after a private lunch between Trump and Ye, where—Kim told E! news—the singer and the president will discuss Kanye’s desire to create manufacturing jobs in Chicago for ex-cons.
“He wants to talk about building local factories for his clothes and shoes and getting formerly incarcerated men and women to work at the factories,” Kardashian said, “I know that’s really important to him.”
West met Trump when he was president-elect in November 2016.