“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” the 43-year-old musician wrote on Independence Day, using the hashtag “2020 vision.”
Kim Kardashian West quote-tweeted her husband’s announcement with the American flag. Tesla CEO Elon Musk quickly piped in, replying, “You have my full support!” Musk had previously supported former Democratic candidate Andrew Yang.
Many on social media have dismissed the announcement as a publicity stunt, though others questioned: How did West go from being a vocal ally of President Donald Trump to announcing a run against him? Is this an attempt to draw some Black voters and young voters away from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden?
An April 2018 YouGov/Huffington Post poll, taken after West started publicly praising Trump, showed just 9 percent of Black adults and 13 percent of Democrats surveyed had a favorable opinion of West. That's compared with 20 percent of white adults and 34 percent of Republicans surveyed.
West has an upcoming album, "God's Country," and its first single, "Wash Us in the Blood," was released this week. Gap Inc. recently said it entered into a 10-year deal with West for a Yeezy line of clothing — sending the retailer’s shares soaring 42 percent. Days later, Kardashian West sold 20 percent of KKW Beauty to Coty Inc., the owner of Max Factor and Covergirl, valuing her business at $1 billion.
A Kanye presidential run has been teased for years. But the musician made an Oval Office appearance in 2018 while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, stirring backlash from many fans and peers in the entertainment industry. He and Kardashian West have worked with Trump on several occasions, including on commuting the sentences of individuals convicted of nonviolent offenses.
In this year's May issue of GQ, West seemingly implied his loyalties were still with Trump.
"We know who I’m voting on," West had told the magazine. "And I’m not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over."
INTRODUCING POLITICO DISPATCH: AN INSIDER'S BRIEFINGFast. Short. Daily. We take you behind the headlines and help you
understand the biggest stories driving politics and policy.
If West is serious about running, he would have to run as an independent and still get the necessary signatures to be on November's ballot. The deadline to file has already passed in Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas. However, West's name could still be written in anywhere.
The only "Kanye" in the FEC database for this year’s presidential election is a Green Party candidate who has raised $0.
As of early Sunday morning, West's announcement had more than 416,000 retweets or quote tweets and 830,000 likes on Twitter. Different versions of “Kanye” were trending on Twitter, along with “First Lady,” “Elon Musk,” and “Kardashians.”