Now in a statistical tie with Donald Trump for first place in the Republican presidential field, Ben Carson acknowledged Kanye West’s fandom for his candidacy and said he did get an opportunity to talk with the Grammy-winning rapper.
In a new NBC/WSJ poll of likely primary voters, Trump has 21 percent support to Carson’s 20 percent, with Carly Fiorina and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tied with 11 percent support each.
Trump isn’t the only front-runner who’s lost ground, with Hillary Clinton now leading Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by only 7 points. She led by 60 points in June.
West told Vanity Fair in a new interview that “as soon as I heard Carson speak, I tried for three weeks to get on the phone with him.”
“I was like, this is the most brilliant guy,” West said. “…And I think all the people running right now have something that each of the others needs.”
Kanye announced his own presidential ambitions — for 2020 — at the recent MTV Video Music Awards, and told the magazine those plans are “definitely” still in the works.
“I want everyone to win. When I run for president, I’d prefer not to run against someone. I would be like ‘I want to work with you,’” said West, who was called a “jackass” by President Obama in 2009 (after West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMAs) and again in 2012 (“He is a jackass. But he’s talented.”).
Asked Sunday on ABC about Kanye, Carson said, “I did have an opportunity to to talk with him.”
“I was extremely impressed with his business acumen. He knows a lot about business,” Carson said. “And, you know, I talked to him about the possibility of maybe himself and some of the other people in the pop culture doing some — some music that might be uplifting, that might give young women a sense of their value and young men a sense of responsibility.”
“I think it could be a tremendous thing in our society,” the pediatric neurosurgeon added.
Asked if Kanye could be a good president someday, Carson replied, “Well, I’m certainly willing to give him a chance. We’ll see. He’ll be able to explain things and we’ll see if he resonates with the people.”
On the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Carson stressed that he “has served our country for many years and I certainly don’t see any reason to denigrate him in any way.”
“But, you know, it is time, probably, for new leadership,” Carson said. “There’s a lot of unrest and people who really feel that a lot of people have been sent to Congress over the last few elections, but nothing really has changed. And they want to see some results.”