The rapper is meeting with the president at the White House

By Emily Zauzmer
October 11, 2018 11:10 AM
Credit: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty; Bryan Bedder/Getty

Kanye West can expect a friendly audience as he heads to the White House on Thursday to talk to President Donald Trump.

In a Fox & Friends phone interview on Thursday, Trump, 72, said of the rapper, 41, “First of all, I like him a lot. He’s been a friend of mine. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a very different kind of a guy. I say that in a positive way, but he is a different kind of a guy.”

“Those that are in the music business say he’s a genius, and that’s okay with me because as far as I’m concerned he is,” Trump added. “He’s really a great guy. You know what he wants? He’s not asking for anything for himself. … He’s a private guy, and he wants to help people.”

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Trump also told Fox & Friends, “I have a lot of African American support and a lot has developed over the last little while with Kanye coming out,” noting, too, former football star Jim Brown’s support.

Donald Trump and Kanye West
| Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty

Trump then paid a compliment to Kim Kardashian West, who successfully asked the president in May to commute the prison sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender who was given a life sentence without parole in 1996.

“His wife, who is terrific, Kim, she’s the one that brought the attention to Mrs. Johnson,” Trump said of the reality star, 37.

Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump
| Credit: Donald Trump/Twitter

On Tuesday, Kardashian West told ExtraTV, “I’m proud of my husband. He’s going to the White House in a few days to go talk about the city of Chicago and to help with some really exciting things that I feel like they’ve been planning, and I’m really hopeful that the president listens and can make that happen.”

She continued, “I always say he might not be the best communicator, but he has the best heart. And I know what he wants to accomplish will be amazing.”

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West, who is set to meet with Trump and Jared Kushner, has praised Trump in the past. In September, West delivered an unexpected pro-Trump speech that did not make it to air after appearing as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.

In a rant that caught Trump’s attention, West said, “It’s so many times that I talk to a white person about this, and they say, ‘How could you support Trump? He’s racist.’ Well if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago. We don’t just make our decisions off of racism. I’ma break it down to you right now: If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all they policies.”

Kanye West
| Credit: NBC

Calling Trump “a builder” while wearing a Make America Great Again hat, West said, “Now you got a situation where we need to have a dialogue and not a diatribe because if you want something to change, it’s not going to change by saying, ‘F— that person.’ Try love. Try love. Try love. Try love.”

A source told PEOPLE, “[West] loves Donald Trump; he is convinced that Trump is going to change America for the better and thinks that he’s already done an amazing job.”

The source added, “He talks about Trump all the time; he watches the news and finds times when Trump is being treated unfairly, and he talks about them all the time.”

“Kim did not support Trump, and her family didn’t support him,” an insider previously told PEOPLE. “But she knows that she has a very rare opportunity to have the ear of the President, and she has some things that she’s very passionate about, and is willing to meet with him to talk about the things she believes.”