Kanye West now holds the rare celebrity distinction of grabbing the attention of three consecutive presidents. George W. Bush said that West created the worst moment of his presidency when the rapper accused him of not caring about black people. Barack Obama called West a jackass because West had done some things that were pretty jackass-y.
And now Donald Trump has deemed West a good man and a friend, hugging him when West visited the Trump Tower this morning. West later said on Twitter that the two had discussed “multicultural issues,” such as “bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago” and that “it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future President if we truly want change.” He added, ominously, “#2024.” The media frenzy around his visit, for now, has taken attention away from other Trump doings.
For a lot of West fans, it’s another crisis in a year of them. The rapper once railed against American capitalists exploiting black people and ignoring their well-being. Now he’s palling around with a man who—to name just one of the many sources of cognitive dissonance today—may boost the private prison system West has denounced. The caveats: For a while now, enjoying West’s music has often required separating art from artist; with this being his first major public appearance since being hospitalized for psychiatric observation in November, West’s motives may be more tangled than ever; West has said he would have voted for Trump had he voted, but he donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign; and visiting the president-elect can be a chance to lobby him on topics you disagree about, as Al Gore presumably did when he met with Trump recently.