WASHINGTON – Comedian Kathy Griffin said she doubts Kanye West is a supporter of President Trump.
Griffin noted that she lived next to West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, until about 2 months ago when the couple moved to a different neighborhood.
“I don’t think he really believes it. I really don’t. You can’t be Kanye West and really believe in MAGA, like you just can’t. My joke is I think he walked past Fox News for 5 minutes and then just sort of thought like, ‘oh, that’s interesting – that one line is interesting’ and then went to record something,” she said at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.
“But I’m hopeful and I love that John Legend is like taking Kanye on as his project. Legend can handle it,” she added, referring to Legend’s text messages to West about his Trump endorsement.
Griffin described her experience under federal investigation after deciding to pose with a mock severed head of the president as “scary.” Griffin said she was “detained at every airport” during her last overseas tour.
“It was crazy, for sure, I was laughing, I was crying, I was in a ball on the floor. I was writing. I was mostly furiously writing, just so many crazy things happened that after a while it almost became funny and I thought, ‘wait a minute, I’ve got to put this on stage’ and so I really enjoy being overseas,” she said. “Now I’m going to resume the tour in North America starting in Canada and I’m announcing actually, I think, 15 new cities on Monday – so I’m back, baby.”
Griffin added, “For the citizenry, it’s not a good time but for a comic it’s actually a good time.” As for Trump skipping his second White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Griffin said, “Screw him, it’s fine with me. Although I would like to see him come to my house; I have a few things to say to him.”
April Ryan, a White House correspondent and CNN contributor, said she is not sure why West is publicly expressing support for Trump.
“He can back whomever he wants to back. The issue is the stakes, what’s on the table. I mean, he went against George W. Bush years ago with [Hurricane] Katrina and now he’s backing Trump and people are calling this president officially a racist. And that’s the reason why I’ve asked the question, because people are calling him that and then he’s going to back him. I just don’t understand,” she told PJM at the dinner.
“I just don’t understand if it’s about selling albums or what have you. I don’t know if it’s some kind of mental issue, that’s not for me to understand, but it’s for me to question,” Ryan added. “If he runs for president, I will be questioning him. If he’s in the White House, I will be questioning him and the potential or possible first lady Kim Kardashian West.”
West has been teasing a potential run for president, which Ryan said people should take seriously.
“He could be president if he runs. I mean, Donald Trump could have been president and he wound up being it and I kept saying, ‘Donald Trump has a base, he has a lot of people who watched him on TV, a lot of people who like his economic prowess, he has a large base.’ Kanye West has a large base,” she said. “We don’t know what could happen and I’m not going to make any predictions at this moment, but right now I’m going to say if he actually runs I’m going to take it seriously.”
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, said she hopes West saw the “Kellyanne Kanye” meme being shared on social media.
“I thought it was so clever. Kanye West speaks for many Americans when he says don’t criticize me for having an independent thought and for expressing my beliefs, whether they are religious beliefs or political beliefs or ideological beliefs. He’s absolutely right – that’s the great foundation of this nation,” Conway said.
“I was disappointed to see the backlash against people like him and Shania Twain, saying that she’s Canadian but if she could have voted in this election she would have voted for Donald Trump. Why can’t people just make good on their self-professed ideal of free expression and personal belief and independent thinking? We should all respect each other’s opinions particularly if they are different,” she added.
CNN anchor Don Lemon said he was not surprised to see West endorse Trump.
“Kanye should be able to say and do whatever he wants to do; this is a free society,” he said. “But anyone who has a platform as big as Kanye West’s should be aware of their platform and the power of their words, and also should be knowledgeable on the issues they are speaking about.”
Steve Howey, an actor from the Showtime series Shameless, told PJM that West is either a supporter of Trump or he’s just a “brilliant PR guy” ahead of a new album release.
Howey was asked if he thinks Kanye will backtrack on his public support for Trump.
“Depending on if he has another album coming out,” he replied.