Rapper Kanye West has no campaign organization and has already missed the filing deadline in a few key states, but he confirmed in an interview published Wednesday that he has broken ranks with President Donald Trump and plans a late-hour White House bid this year.
“God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time,” West told Forbes in a meandering interview in which he clarified that a Saturday tweet announcing a run for president referred to this year and not 2024, which had been his original plan.
Among other details, West disclosed that his running mate will be Michelle Tidball, a little-known preacher from Wyoming, that his campaign slogan will be “YES!” and that he will run under the banner of the Birthday Party.
“Because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday,” West said.
West, who has enjoyed a friendly relationship with Trump, including a high-profile visit to the White House, suggested that he no longer supports the president’s reelection.
“I am taking the red hat off, with this interview,” West said, referring to the red Make America Great Again cap he has frequently donned.
West — who has also started promoting a forthcoming album — has not registered as a candidate and has already missed the filing deadline to run as an independent in a few key states, including North Carolina and Texas. Deadlines are rapidly approaching in others. It remains unclear whether he could mobilize quickly enough to be much of a factor in the race — or if he will actually follow through with a bid.
At one point in the interview, West said, “I’m walking. I’m not running.”
His tweet on Saturday prompted speculation that his bid could be an attempt to siphon off African American votes from Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in an effort to bolster Trump.
Speaking to Forbes, West made clear that he’s not a fan of the former vice president, comparing him unfavorably to past Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
“Joe Biden?” West said. “Like come on man, please. You know? Obama’s special. Trump’s special. We say Kanye West is special. America needs special people that lead. Bill Clinton? Special. Joe Biden’s not special.”
In an interview Tuesday with RealClearPolitics, Trump said a 2020 bid by West would be “a trial run” for 2024 in his view.
“It’d have to be limited to certain states because in some states the deadline has been missed,” Trump said, adding that he finds the prospect “very interesting.”