President Donald Trump on Wednesday denied any involvement in the effort by rapper Kanye West to get on the ballot in presidential battlegrounds – amid a skein of revelations about GOP-connected officials aiding the effort.
‘I’m not involved,’ Trump said at the White House when DailyMail.com asked him about new disclosures about figures assisting West in his petition-drive to get on state ballots for his 11th-hour presidential campaign.
‘I like him. He’s always been very nice to me,’ Trump said, praising the rapper-producer who appeared with him at the White House in 2018 and sported his trademark red Make America Great Again hat.
But Trump denied a role in West’s latest actions.
‘No, not at all. No, not at all. Other than I get along with him very well. I like him. I like his wife. His wife recommended certain people as you know for, including Alice Johnson who’s a fantastic woman,’ Trump continued, praising Kim Kardashian and pointing to her successful push for Trump to grant clemency for her life sentence on a drug conviction.
The president briefly veered into a discussion about prison reform.
‘But his wife recommended certain people to get out of prison. They were in prison for a long time. A long, long time. And should have never happened. And I took what she said very strong – Kim Kardashian,’ Trump continued. ‘And she’s got a good heart. A very good heart. And I like Kanye very much.’
Then he added: ‘No, I have nothing to do with him getting on the ballot.’
The president briefly mulled how having West’s name on the ballot might impact his race against Democrat Joe Biden, then stopped short.
‘We’ll have to see what happens. We’ll see if he gets on the ballot. But i’m not involved,’ he concluded.
Trump’s 2016 victory came in a year when Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Gary Johnson were on the ballot, with a late push by Evan McMullen to try to throw a wrench into the outcome.
The president’s comments come as a series of GOP officials have been tied to West’s effort.
West turned in ballot petitions Tuesday in Wisconsin, a critical swing state that Trump carried narrowly in 2016 where Biden is leading in public polls.
The rapper announced his campaign July 4th on Twitter, then filed papers in Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Vermont, and West Virginia.
Top GOP lawyer Lane Ruhland was filmed and identified dropping off West’s Wisconsin petitions at the state capital in Madison. She is a former general counsel for the state Republican Party.
‘It appears that Kanye West made a smart decision by hiring an experienced election attorney,’ said state GOP spokeswoman Alesha Guenther told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Another official, Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, was listed as a contact for West’s effort to get on the ballot in Arkansas. Trump reportedly consider Keller to be chair of his 2016 campaign before settling on Corey Lewandowski.
Chuck Wilton is listed as a convention delegate for Trump in Vermont and an elector for West. His wife, Wendy is a Trump Agriculture Department appointee. New York Magazine identified officials assisting West with GOP ties.
The group Let The Voters Decide is also assisting West.