TELLURIDE, Colo. — As evidence was mounting that Republican operatives have been working to place Kanye West on presidential ballots, the rapper reportedly met last weekend with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser.
Citing people familiar with the meeting, The New York Times reported Wednesday the sit-down happened in Telluride, Colorado. Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, also an adviser to her father, was at the meeting as well.
After the Times inquired about the meeting, West took to Twitter, writing that he and Kushner had discussed a book about Black empowerment called “PowerNomics.”
In a follow-up interview with the Times, West did not elaborate on the meeting and instead expressed anger about abortion rates among Black women and said he doesn’t reflexively support Democrats.
West so far has filed petitions to appear on the Nov. 3 ballot in 10 states. Reports have linked efforts to have West added to ballots in at least five states to GOP activists and operatives, some with ties to Trump — an indication that some Republicans view the 21-time Grammy winner’s candidacy as an opportunity to siphon votes from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In an interview last week with Forbes that was conducted through text messages, West admitted he’s hoping his White House run -- or, as he calls it, a "walk" -- will hurt Biden’s chances.
Asked about West last week, Trump said: “I like Kanye very much. I have nothing to do with him being on the ballot. I’m not involved.”
West and Trump have been friendly with each other in the past, with the hip hop star even visiting the White House. However, West said last month he no longer supports the president.
“It looks like one big mess to me,” West told Forbes of Trump’s presidency. “I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker (during racial justice protests outside the White House).”
Among the states West is trying to add his name to the ballot is Wisconsin, a key battleground state that Trump won in 2016.
The hip hop star, who says he’s running on the “Birthday Party” line, has met challenges in some states, including in Wisconsin, where complaints include allegations that his petition was filed late and listed fake names such as Mickey Mouse and Bernie Sanders.
Illinois rejected West’s petition after state election officials found that nearly two-thirds of the 3,100 signatures he submitted were invalid, leaving him short of the 2,500-signature requirement. West’s campaign can still challenge that decision.
And West dropped his bid to appear on New Jersey’s ballot earlier this month. That came after an election lawyer objected to West’s petition, arguing that signatures were incomplete and, in some cases, appeared written in very similar handwriting.