Which is the closest I have ever felt to the President — because I was feeling all those same things watching the rapper and the celebrity President interact in front of the cameras. (“Interact” probably oversells it. Kanye just sort of talked at Trump, with an occasional pause to side-hug the President or show him a plane from his phone.)
It was a particularly Trumpian spectacle. Kanye was invited, alongside NFL great Jim Brown, ostensibly to talk about prison reform, but was really brought to the White House because a) he is a celebrity b) he says nice things about Trump and c) he guarantees eyeballs and buzz everywhere he goes.
And of course, everyone watched — even if they said they didn’t want to or didn’t care — because it was impossible to tear yourself away from the spectacle. Kanye didn’t really talk much about prison reform but, then again, I am not sure what the hell he did talk about.
I watched the whole thing because, again, how could you not? Below are the 17 most surreal, weird and only-in-the-Trump-White-House moments. Some are quotes. Some are observations. Some are, well, not able to be adequately described in words. I didn’t rank them in any set order, because how in the world would you even do that?
1. Trump’s face
I mean, absolutely epic. I think you could see Trump thinking “Was this a mistake?” during the middle-to-late section of Kanye’s speech. But then Kanye landed the (rhetorical) plane — somehow — and Trump seemed thrilled with all the attention. All’s well that ends well — or something.
2. “So there’s a theory that — there’s infinite amounts of universe and there’s alternate universe so it’s very important for me to get [Larry] Hoover out, because in an alternate universe, I am him and I have to go and get him free.”
3. The hug
We are all witnesses. “I love this guy right here,” Kanye explained. “Let me give this guy a hug. I love this guy right here.”
(Later, Kanye hugged ABC’s Jon Karl. Equal opportunity hugger, I guess.)
4. “It was something about when I put this hat on. … It made me feel like Superman. That’s my favorite superhero. And you made a Superman cape for me.”
5. Kanye swearing
It’s just not every day that you hear legit curse words — not like H-E-L-L — be uttered publicly in the Oval Office. “Put the bleep on it, however you want to do it,” Kanye helpfully noted to the assembled press after he swore for the first time. Can’t say he didn’t warn us!
6. “The Yeezy Effect”
7. Abolishing the 13th Amendment
Kanye has drawn huge criticism in the past for his advocacy of getting rid of the amendment to the Constitution that prohibits slavery. It apparently hasn’t curbed his desire to see the amendment repealed. Here’s how West explained it with Trump on Thursday: “If you’re building a floor, the constitution is the base of our industry, right, of our country, of our company. 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?” Uh.
8. “So he said that I actually wasn’t bipolar. I had sleep deprivation which can cause dementia 10 to 20 years from now, I wouldn’t even remember my son’s name.”
9. Kanye on saying “dope”
“I don’t really say dope. I don’t say negative words. We just say positive, lovely, divine, universal words.” Wise words.
10. Kanye showed Trump a hydrogen plane on his phone
11. Kanye’s iPhone password is “000000”
12. Kanye called Jared Kushner “Jerry”
While showing off the photo of the iPlane, Kanye turns to the President’s son-in-law and says “Look at this, Jerry.” Tough stuff for Jerry.
13. Trump’s reaction when Kanye stopped speaking
“That was quite something. That was quite something.”
14. Kanye’s reaction to Trump’s reaction
“It was from the soul. I just channeled it.”
15. “I don’t answer questions in simple sound bites. You’re tasting a fine wine. It has multiple notes to it.”
16. The “hero’s journey”
Here’s Kanye on, um, something: “All we really have is today. We just have today. Over and over and over again. Hero’s journey. And Trump is on his hero’s journey right now and he might not think he would have a crazy motherf****r like Kanye West’s support and best believe, we are going to make America great.”
Donald Trump 2020: He’s on his hero’s journey.
17. That time Kanye channeled Rust Cohle
“Because time is a myth. All we have is now. All we have is today.” — Ye