White House senior adviser Jared Kushner confirmed on Thursday that he had a “friendly discussion” about policy with Kanye West in Colorado, saying the conversation wasn’t necessarily focused on the rapper’s presidential campaign.
West’s meeting with Kushner was first reported by The New York Times earlier this week. According to the Times, West was camping in Colorado and flew to Telluride to meet with Kushner and his wife, first daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump.
When asked if he discussed West’s presidential campaign during the meeting, Kushner said: “We had a general discussion more about policy.” He didn’t indicate that there were any other discussions besides the Colorado meeting.
Forbes reported that West had recently been telling associates he’d spoken with Kushner “almost daily.” But at the briefing, Kushner described his conversations with the rapper as something that happens “every now and again.”
“Kanye’s been a friend of mine for, I’ve known him for about 10 years and you know we talk every now and again about different things. And we both happened to be in Colorado and so we got together and had a great discussion about a lot of things,” Kushner said.
“He has some great ideas for what he’d like to see happen for the country and that’s why he has the candidacy he’s been doing. But, again, there’s a lot of issues that the President’s championed that he admires and it was just great to have a friendly discussion,” he added.
While still a supporter of President Donald Trump, West made a number of bizarre appearances with the President. He grew closer to Trump after his wife, Kim Kardashian West, worked with White House officials, including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, on criminal justice reform.
But after years of supporting Trump, West declared last month that he would run for president, leading Republicans – including the President himself – to speculate that West’s name on the ballot would siphon voters away from Joe Biden, especially among Black voters.
Republican operatives, some with ties to Trump, are actively helping West get on presidential general election ballots in various states.
West’s first campaign event, a rally in South Carolina, was an unusual affair that looked nothing like a traditional campaign.
The rapper – clad in what looked like a protective vest – made erroneous comments about Harriet Tubman and at one point broke down crying. The appearance led many to voice concerns about his well-being, and a few days later his wife made a public statement acknowledging West’s bipolar diagnosis and asking for compassion and empathy.
Trump has denied involvement in getting West to run and on Tuesday, he told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he hasn’t spoken with West about his presidential run. But he encouraged West’s decision.
“I have not (spoken to him), but I think it’s great,” Trump said. “I think it’s great that he wants his voice heard.”
CNN’s Dan Merica and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.