Trump’s Callous Use of Kanye

Trump never cared about criminal justice reform.

Comments: 173

  1. "Tough on crime" but not on his own His phony pitch is overblown, A forked tongue demurrer In business a shnurrer Whom suckers like Kanye condone. The midterm vote’s a turning point To change a time that’s out of joint Get neighbors and friends To see it all ends A defanged Trump let’s all anoint.

  2. @Larry Eisenberg: Do not believe that African Americans reading this newspaper would appreciate having 1 of their own called a "snurrer"--worst insult in Yiddish--and a "sucker!" Your doggerel is too motivated by mean spiritedness to be either humorous or interesting! Alexander Harrison suggests you read verses of Edgar Guest, "people's poet," for inspiration, positive thinking, and to acquire an optimistic view of life! Here is a verse written by my late sister who had only 1 class in creative writing on her resume--her metier was customer service as a stewardess with Capital Airlines, once the largest in America: Writing about the late Princess Margaret when her Majesty's sister was in the news back in the day, she penned: "Hey Meg, hate to beg but have you got a fiver?"?

  3. @Alexander Harrison ~ You wrote: "...her metier was customer service as a stewardess with Capital Airlines, once the largest in America..." "Capital Airlines was an airline serving the eastern United States which was merged into United Airlines in 1961....At its peak it was the fifth largest domestic carrier in the U.S." I worked for Trans World Airlines so facts about aviation history matter to me!

  4. @Alexander Harrison I'm pretty sure that the term shnurrer was used to describe Trump, not West and, although I'm not particularly well versed in Yiddish I'm pretty sure it's not the worst insult Yiddish has to offer. As for referring to West as a sucker, well that's pretty much the point of the article.

  5. "The spectacle was watching Trump pretend to care about remedying a problem that he is consciously continuing to not only cheer but worsen. Kanye was just being used." Trump did to Kanye what he's doing to the country.

  6. You can't do THAT on TV.

  7. Did Kanye and his wife feel used by anybody? Have they ever allowed themselves to be used? I may be wrong, but my opinion is that people like them aren't let themselves used.

  8. The president—our miserable president, our narcissistic president, our incompetent president—seems incapable of feeling or expressing true empathy for anyone. His emotional development appears to have been derailed when he was little more than a toddler. He would probably view people as pawns, if he understood what pawns were. His publicity events turn out to be bizarre, horribly off-base and cringe-worthy extravaganzas that are more like grotesque settings of absurdist plays rather than photo opportunities. Anything can happen, and if it makes sense, it’s by accident. Kanye West likes the toddler president, and the president likes him. Both are slightly unhinged, incoherent and immune to ridicule. It’s a match made in heaven. If the president heard an appeal from every person of color who is rotting in jail forever for some finite offense, he’d never have time to wreck the country. But as a practical matter, it might not have occurred to him that the economic abandonment of neighborhoods that produces the despair and misery that drives the drug trade might be a thing he could do something about. The most popular sport among Republican lawmakers is to starve and cheat our poorest citizens, and then throw them into privatized prisons when they keel over. It’s a win-win in their book. Nothing the president has ever done would indicate that he cares one whit about these people. Sing about that, Mr. West.

  9. @gemli I disagree, I think blacks are allowed to think what they want and have their own opinions

  10. @gemli Well Said! Republican lawmakers DO enjoy cheating and starving the poorest and least endowed and therefore ill-equipped to fight back. They are all too happy to drive these persons to drugs which, they expect, to kill them and thus decrease the amount of financial aid that has to be spent for THEM instead of on themselves in some scam or tax cut. Trump is indeed the sideshow people watch, like a hideous car wreck or reality show instead of keeping their eye on what is REALLY happening behind the scenes. It's precisely for that reason Trump was elected and encouraged, albeit benignly. to continue his act. Kanye West is just a mentally ill pawn that Trump uses to make it appear that he is not a racist. Sad. VOTE Democrat in November!!!!

  11. @Larry You think?

  12. Federal criminal justice reform will not address the incidental drug arrests that happen during stop and frisk. Despite the policy, the number of inmates in prison exclusively on drug charges is very low. Many swept up are actually involved in or on parole for violent crime which doesn't help. State prosecutors that bring maximal felony charges for all who come before them, regardless of offense, are the vital final link in the chain (John Pfaff). This is a state level sentencing problem and reform needs to happen at the state level. However the electoral advantages that legislators, prosecutors and judges who are hard-on-crime (advocates of stiffer sentences for violent crime) enjoy are hard to overcome and finally a question to the American electorate. Best to educate the electorate properly and advocate temperance by our state prosecutors instead of using broad-brush slogans to overturn decades of progress against violent crime.

  13. @RSantos It seems to be a three-headed beast in our county, a prosecutor willing to max-charge everyone and jack bail way up, a county commission of retired LEOs willing to build ever more jails (our jail is 3x the size per capita of the one in Seattle), and a county sheriff willing to play along and feed people into the system to occupy the jail. Now the prosecutor keeps up his charging and holding rate (not many are coming to trial too frequently, they are just being warehoused because they can't make bail) and the county commission is on board w/ a jail expansion plan to keep making room for the poor suckers fed into the system.

  14. @RSantos This isn't only a state and local issue. There are plenty of inmates in prison on federal drug charges. President Obama commuted the sentences of 1715 federal prisoners and pardoned another 212 from 2010 thru 2017 after very thorough review by staff and himself on the records and histories of these inmates. The DOJ announced in August of 2016 that they were discontinuing the use of private prisons entirely. Prison reform has also enjoyed bipartisan support at both the federal and state levels, even out here in the middle, in a very red state, many drug possession offenses are now considered misdemeanors. The fears that violent offenders will be released under these policies is an inaccuracy continually stoked by the "law and order" brigade with no evidence pointing to this happening.

  15. @Molly Addendum to above reply: The current DOJ of course rescinded the order that the federal government would no longer utilize private prisons.

  16. "This happens specifically because of an overzealous lust for punishment, the kind that Trump himself has long harbored and is now implementing." This summation of the president's use of Kanye West as some sort of prop for political theater and another installment of "How the White House Turns" is spot on. I was just watching snippets from the 60 Minutes interview between Donald Trump and Lesley Stahl, marveling (as I usually do) at the rapid double talk in the president's speech. He can whipsaw you with multiple stances all in the space of 2 minutes leaving one totally confused. It's called gaslighting--a psychological attempt to drive a person, or a nation, mad from the disconnect between words and reality. Confession: I didn't watch the Kanye spectacle live, only replays. But the image of a normally voluble president suddenly quiet and looking on vacantly while the rapper thought he was given free rein to air his political stances, was painful. Painful for how West was exploited, elevated, and manipulated all at the same time. No matter what the issue, you can be sure what the president says in the moment has no bearing to what he has said in the past--and even more importantly, what he's doing now to achieve the opposite result. The president gaslit Kanye without saying a word.

  17. @ChristineMcM, well said. But did Kanye deserve it? What is it he does to his public?

  18. Of course Trump used Kanye West. But Kanye didn’t exactly meet with Trump out of altruism. He saw another chance to draw attention by lavishy praising a deeply unpopular president among the black community. (Given the message he was trying to deliver, the fact that his comments made very little sense, well, kinda makes sense.) A couple of opportunists getting together in the Oval Office, with Jim Brown looking like he was in a Southwest “Wanna get away?” commercial. That’s all it was.

  19. @NA The share of Black American supporting this President has double since the booming economy got everyone who anted on a JOB. Then, there's the Walk Away phenomenon of people of color bailing on the losing proposition of Democrat policies. Just ask Candace Owens!

  20. @L'osservatore: Sorry to disappoint, but you're repeating a false claim made by this president. His approval among African Americans' has not doubled, despite what some highly dubious polls suggest. And Candace Owens is repeating another false claim, that that Americans "are slaves on the Democratic Party plantation."

  21. @NA From 15 to 30 is doubling this President' approval numbers among black Americans. Pres. Johnson told all his white friends tht he bought all the black votes for a hundred years, except he used the word that only black progressives are allowed to use any more.

  22. Don't polls show that 94% of Blacks disapprove of Trump? This Kanye in the Oval Office televised meeting was an attempt to create an alternate truth on this issue. Smoke and mirrors. Aso a diversion from the dismembered journalist in the Consulate issue.

  23. @Luchino no, it’s why panic is setting in. Even as cable news networks debate reports of the existence of a recording of President Donald Trump using a racial slur, a new poll from Rasmussen Reports says that the president's approval rating among African-Americans is at 36 percent, nearly double his support at this time last year. "Today's @realDonaldTrump approval ratings among black voters: 36%," Rasmussen said in a tweet. "This day last year: 19%." That is a staggeringly high number for a man who only won 8 percent of the African-American vote in 2016.

  24. @Luchino no. The black elitists wouldn’t be afraid if it were. An August 7 NAACP poll found that 21 percent of black registered voters approve of Trump’s job performance. Even more impressive, in Wednesday’s Rasmussen tracking survey, 36 percent of black voters gave the president thumbs-up, compared with 19 percent a year ago.

  25. 0% of blacks and Hispanics should approve of Trump. He uses Influential people such as ministers to persuade. Before calling Mexican rapist and murders, he was constantly on TV and radio calling Blacks rapists and murders. The DNA taken from the 5 central park teens cleared them before they went to court and before they served anytime in jail. Trump wanted and seceded in creating hatred and fears toward blacks as he is now trying to do toward Hispanics. He is the chief architect of Stop and frisk which prevailed through the country administer by black and white cops. When order for stop & frisk. It often Get on the ground, hand forward and the risk of getting shot if cop believe you aren't moving fast enough or not following his order

  26. Trump uses everyone. If you enrich him in some way, you’re good; if not, you’re gone.

  27. Both used each other. Kanye is clearly as unhinged as Trump and both showed it. The SNL skit said it all.

  28. Excellent point, Mr. Blow. This president drives the bus and then throws anyone under it he can. As long as someone "likes" him they are aces in his book. One can imagine him hugging people like, Ted Bundy, or hand-shaking with Jeffrey Daumer, and doing I don't know what with Charles Manson, as long as they showed fealty to him. Of course, the person has to be famous as well to feed his celebrity fixation. He doesn't care about prison reform unless he gets to fill them up with children, opponents, and journalists. CONGRESS WAKE UP! Kick him out.

  29. @TrumpLiesMatter Trump, Pence & the entire GOP all need to be kicked! Not one of them care about the real Working Americans!

  30. This is the same man who callously condemned the Central Park 5 to death despite DNA evidence overturning their convictions. I don't recall a retraction or apology. This is the same man who from day one brazenly proclaimed he could shoot someone on fifth avenue and get away with it. Sadly, he is right. His cheerleaders whooped and applauded like mindless sheep. Nothing's changed i.e. see his most recent "rally" mocking Dr. Ford. And now the White House has without compassion let someone with very apparent mental health issues ramble on and suffer indignities that he is blissfully unaware of. Every day is a new low with this presidency. I am most shocked that absolutely nothing rattles this guy's base.

  31. Kanye West has to take some responsibility as well for being a fool and a tool for Trump. I think the media should have ignored both of them, but I guess ratings are more important to news networks than meaningful discussions on criminal justice reform. Anyway, you know the old saying birds of a feather flock together. It certainly fits here.

  32. Well, if you elect a "reality" TV personality to be president of your country, you're going to get nonstop theatrics. America's twisted obsession with celebrity has culminated in the Trump presidency. A man who even a casual review of readily available evidence is clearly a liar, a cheat and a bully on a massive scale parlayed his fame into the big chair in the Oval Office. In America, fame dwarfs any other qualification. A professional wrestler became a governor. A comedian became a senator. A "B" movie actor became president. And now a man sadly at the mercy of his consuming narcissism, who achieved fame for pretending to fire people from fake jobs, has been elevated to the most awesomely powerful role in the country. Hoping for more than empty spectacle and chaos is completely irrational.

  33. @Rob, I basically agree with you, but I do have to say that Al Franken was an excellent senator in spite of #metoo charges.

  34. @Rob And being an actor or artist shouldn't preculde psrticipation in politics. It's just that more should go into the evaluation of an artist's preparedness and usefulness as a politician needs to be evaluated.

  35. @Rob "Hoping for more than empty spectacle and chaos is completely irrational." Indeed -- a humbling and chilling realization that we are, as feared, an Idiocracy.

  36. Poor little Kayne. What a joke. The media is at fault for giving ANY attention to this childish grab for attention from two of the most greedy, morally and ethically challenged, socially unconscious human beings to walk the planet. Black on Kanye is not beautiful. Stop treating him like some god. He's just a person.

  37. Well, yes, Trump used him. But maybe a little of the (dis)credit belongs to Mr. West himself. He is, to be sure, Trump's tool, but he is a willing and enthusiastic one. His ignorance of Trump's motives, and his apparent joy in making a spectacle of himself, must play some part here.

  38. This PR event with Kanye West was deplorable. How did Ye get in the Oval Office with his cell phone? Why is he pounding his fist on the hallowed, nineteenth century Resolute Desk? And let's not even recall the vulgar language spoken. Trump may have loved every minute, but I'm desperate for a return to civility in the White House.

  39. Mr blow, Trump is a disaster. But you are mistaken to blame Trump for Kanye's delusional performance. simple self respect and role modeling are important responsibilities each of us should demonstrate. This is especially true for people in the public eye. Today there is no legitimate place or excuse for the ignorant, self important, step-and-fetchit routine West too often subjects us to. I am embarrassed by him and for him. But I am also embarrassed by the quiet tiptoeing around his unacceptable behavior by you and other primarily entertainment writers. West's alleged music talent does not entitle him to a pass for not knowing or disrespecting the legacy of Poitier, belafonte, Anderson, Robeson, Baldwin and hansberry, among other black artists and civil rights activists. Do your job and call him out. or as the young people say: represent!

  40. Kanye must be over the right target to be getting so much flak.

  41. If Trump has any feelings for reforming our nation's prisons it is only because he might be in one.

  42. While watching Kanye and trump in the oval office the image of JFK working at that desk with John Jr playing underneath him came to mind and the words "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for you country." It inspired me and millions of others. And now? Two nacissists getting attention. How far we have fallen...a very sad situation we find ourselves in indeed.

  43. Don't make Kanye a victim of Trump. Kanye is an adult and normaly adults are responsible for their actions. Isn't this fact also true for African Americans?

  44. Trump's reasons for a Kanye photo op are not mysterious to any of us, nor are his antediluvian views on law and order and prison reform. However, I refuse to lay any blame at the feet of Trump for Kanye's "Palinesque", incoherent, unintentionally comedic word salad ramblings. He may be a "genius" to some, but when he isn't creating art he seems to have some trouble expressing himself in ways that the average person can comprehend. Trump truly seems to admire Kanye, which isn't surprising, because genius recognizes genius. It may seem like the weirdest mutual admiration society of all time, but these two are more alike than not. They've fooled everybody.

  45. "Where's my black guy!?" Remember that Trump rally cry? Trump couldn't care less about black people. He is an overt racist. And he surely played Kanye West. Understanding these things is not a problem. On the other hand, according to an August poll of black voters by Rasmussen, Trump's approval rating is at 36%. An NAACP poll taken at the same time found that 21% of black voters approve of Trump. The Pew Research Center in June found the number to be 14%. "Although a vast majority of African-Americans still disapprove of Trump's job as president, those numbers represent an improvement from his share of the vote in 2016. No Republican presidential candidate has done better than 12 percent among blacks since Bob Dole in 1996, according to Cornell University's Roper Center." ("USA Today"; August 17, 2018) Trump knows full well how to play the cameras. Now that's a problem.

  46. Kayne West and Donald Trump are both attention-seeking showmen with very little interest in affecting any change other than driving clicks and followers. This leaves the media to be the adults in room, a job that they absolutely failed at. If Trump didn't know that this would be a standing room only crowd breathless publishing this story to push off other items (such as a climate-warming fueled hurricane and a stock market crash), he wouldn't do it. If Kayne hadn't made himself a spectacle last week, would Mr. Blow perhaps be arguing against a Trump trade or economic policy or would he perhaps be advocating for people getting to the poll in three short weeks? Yes, Kayne was used, but the New York Times and other media needs to look in the mirror as to whether they have become complicit in this dynamic.

  47. @JSD Even worse, people tune in in droves--even columnists and usually astute commenters. For me, it is bad enough to read about it--why watch it, which only helps the 1% get richer?

  48. Kanye and Donald are identical in one important way - they will both do ANYTHING to have the focus on their own petty, little lives.

  49. Trump will truly care about criminal justice reform when it, quite literally, hits him and his family. Remember, he still thinks the Central Park Five are guilty, and he wanted to give them the death penalty.

  50. This was a meeting of total exploitation of troubled Mr. West . Where was his wife of no talent Kim kardashian to come for the rescue ? I am no fan of Kanye West but know of his talent in music while Donald trump has none. Trump is a cruel man who was the accidental President and it was a moment to make fun of Mr. West. It was a horror to listen, but is a story of exploitation by trump and family of draining us dry to make themselves rich, Their day will come and it will not be a pleasant outcome !

  51. I continue to be amazed that, amid all the attention on Kanye West's bizarre West Wing performance - ostensibly to consult on matters of racial urban crime, injustice and incarceration another invitee has been completely overlooked, That would be the comparatively silent presence of controversial NFL "great," Jim Brown. That West was there may have been bizarre. That many times accused female abuser and at least once convicted and quite deservedly, once imprisoned Brown was there was crashingly and most insultingly tone deaf. Especially in the wake of the Kavanaugh debacle. Trump's utter lack of judgement in bringing Kanye to the table is a mere bad taste joke compared to his overlooked, in your face insensitivity in including Brown.

  52. To suggest that this man would not use any tool, device, trick or method to get his way, is to suggest that he is not an "enfant terrible" or a man at war. In this case a man at war with his own nation.

  53. Current support for Trump and republicans runs at roughly 11-12% of blacks who do vote (which is a fraction of all eligible black voters). I.e., Trump's popularity has doubled among blacks (only 6% voted for him in 2016). Kanye is an outlier, but what about others? Can you explain that?

  54. Not only these indignities, but the Times lead review yesterday in the book section concerned the use of private prisons, a practice that under Obama was discouraged. No surprise here: under the malevolent, elfin Sessions, private prisons companies are reengaged and praised.

  55. Seems to me the using was by both, and was mutual. West is no victim, and making excuses for him seems a little cynical. What matters far more is the substance of the article in showing Trump's abominable behavior, to which the nation has now become acclimated and passively (or actively) accepting. Meanwhile, for the good it did do for the woman, the only reason Trump did anything for her is because Kim Kardashian is pretty; for that, he always makes an exception. Kanye then needed a "me-too" balancer for his own ego; he and his wife seem a little competitive with each other.

  56. Why do apologists for the extreme left wing of the Dem. party, those who favor open borders, shredding the Constitution,abolishing law enforcement and the electoral college assume that when a person of color questions advisability of African Americans sticking with Dem. Party despite its poor record of defense for them that they r "troubled?"KW sounded rational to me, and if he advises African Americans to think on their own, to stop letting themselves be taken for granted by a party which defended Jim Crow for over 70 years, he is in good company. Candace Owens, Messieurs Webb, Elder, Inness "fils:" Does that mean that they are troubled too? All of us admire success, and Trump has earned the respect of millions in the African American community who also want a "piece of the action! If Trump can do it, why can't we, African Americans, including my spouse Juliana from Iburri , ask themselves!When is the last time that author ventured into west and south sides of Chicago to sound out the law abiding citizens re Trump? When did Trump's predecessor do so, despite fact that Chicago is his home town and 1 would think he owes a certain loyalty to its beleaguered residents who would appreciate his presence there?

  57. @Alexander Harrison "...KW sounded rational to me..." Oh dear Lord. The idiocracy is nearly complete: Kanye West and Donald Trump are heros.

  58. Both Trump and Kanye are long overdue for a mental health checkup. We ALL need to see a mental health professional from time to time. Seek professional help.

  59. "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." - Oscar Wilde Trump's motto, apparently. The carnival barker reveals the freak. Now, who is, between Kanye West and Trump, the carnival barker and who is the freak, is a matter of your perspective. I'm undecided. The Kardashians will monetize this. The Repubs will use it to accuse Dems of stifling dissenting voices, the mainstream media and opiners will move on to the next spectacle, the sun will rise tomorrow and the Great Lakes are still comprised of water. The tragic punch line, however, is that mental health funding, by both public dollars and the private insurance industry, will continue to be meager.

  60. Trump and Kanye. Both damaged men, damaged by other men, spreading more and more damage to everyone. The importance of having caring fathers present in the lives of their sons cannot be overstated.

  61. @Tomas O’Connor Mental illness strikes those with all kinds of (or no) fathers.

  62. It's arguable whether Kanye is more "troubled" than Trump and which one of them exploits the other more. Obama - unlike his successor, generally not a name-caller - was publicly referring to Kanye as a jackass in 2008, nine years ago. If West is troubled, he has been at least since then; that hasn't prevented us from making him a celebrity millionaire many times over and laughably considering him a "musical genius." Or from electing someone as President who gets his briefings from Fox News and Kim Kardashian. Of course Trump doesn't care about criminal justice. Trump cares about nothing but himself, that's obvious at this point to anyone who doesn't think God was involved in his election, who's not xenophobic, and who isn't desperately protecting their own pride after having voted for this imbecile.

  63. @James Beethoven, Bach, Lennon and McCartney, Brian Wilson are/were musical geniuses. Kanye, not so much.

  64. Seems pretty clear that Kanye was using Trump just as much as Trump used Kanye. I say let’em, it shows how callow, stupid and unhinged they both are.

  65. Charles is spot on as always with his taking apart of the venal, thin-skinned, narcissistic, mean- spirited, liar in chief. But he gives Kanye way too wide a birth. Kanye is the useful idiot, and he is happy being used — it is with his permission. Yes, Trump is way more contemptible (and dangerous) because of the power he has and his cult following, but Kanye is contemptible in his own right. Those who prop up, or find common cause with, the squatter in the Oval Office, are collaborators in the ongoing destruction of our once great nation.

  66. @Fuego. Agreed! Can you say, Mitch McConnell, Paul Bryan, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Orin Hatch ... and so, so many more! These men were complicit in this administration's catastrophes and should themselves be drummed out of politics, and polite society!

  67. @Fuego *berth (not birth!). This is what happens when you type quickly in the morning on your phone on the subway when there is a signal in the station!

  68. You.forgot to mention the CP5. The innocent young men Trump labeled as "killers and thugs", even going so far as to take an ad out in the Times to promote their execution. Guess this why his base loves him.

  69. @Mixilplix Don't forget, his Orange Majesty also kow-tows to evangelical Christians like Mike Pence AND white, middle-aged, rough-and-tumble BIKERs at the same time. Quite a juggling act to handle such diversity within the Base.

  70. @Mixilplix They were poor. Kanye is rich. Heck, Trump would go golfing with O.J. if he had enough money left.

  71. I'm WHITE and a lover of music from black artists and have been for about 45 years. I don't really know KANYE but I was disgusted at the spectacle because KANYE is bowing down and hugging a white supremacist and violating his race in the process. sickening!

  72. "Callous use of"? They're both buffoons.

  73. Hugging Kanye, kneeling to pray with the pastor released by Turkey, as always it's all about Trump. He prostitutes himself shamelessly for any bit of publicity. He is simply "fake news".

  74. A useful tool serving the deceptive, calculating fool. As for criminal justice reform, this dangerous fool wants to lock any and all up who doth not please His Royal Hindness. This fool has "good chemistry" with Kim Jong. Bread and Circus brought to the world stage by the Ringmaster in Chief/Thief. Never thought that the Blight House would be so disrespected and treated contemptuously by and apprentice in chief of Jerry Springer and Al Capone merged.

  75. Indeed, Kanye is just for show, as Trump remains the same 'racist'we have known all along. Trump is a showman, shameless it seems, in using 'famous props' for his own glory, just one more diversion from his multiple governmental undoings for self-enrichment... and ignorance/incompetence in state affairs, beyond a dangerous impromptu, 'off the cuff', comments and improvisational decisions impacting people, even nations, impervious to the adverse consequences of his stupid moves. Kanye is being 'used' but his ego may not allow him to acknowledge this fact. We are living a TV reality show unthinkable as recently as 2 years ago.

  76. Trump needed a famous black guy that would be pro-Trump to parade around and Mr. West kind of fit the bill with the exception of his obvious mental challenges. This was a spectacle of a display of a rather severely handicapped man being used by our carnival barker President. Trump, may have looked like he was trying to appeal to African Americans, but really it was to his white base. It was; “See how foolish the black people can be, see how superior we all are compared to them?” It was embarrassing for African Americans, first because Mr. West was foolishly endorsing Trump, and secondly, West acted like an incoherent fool in front of the world. They all could have met privately, but Trump had all the media there to record a punch drunk West ramble uninterrupted for thirty minutes. Next, Trump will pardon Cosby and force him to eat jello in the oval office.

  77. Trump is the useful lackey for the GOP and kanya is the useful lackey for Trump. What else is there to say.

  78. I despised Trump the moment I saw him mock a disabled man. What he's doing with Kanye is simply a more elaborate display of that same mentality.

  79. The Democrats are all in a tizzy over this one because you can palpably feel they are worried about a black celebrity leaning Republican and conservative which might make other blacks at least think about which party is actually doing more for them. It is patronizing of Democrats to believe that blacks--as a group--must be Democrats, and hold something against people who think otherwise.

  80. Yeah. Sammy Davis Jr cozying up to Richard Nixon produced a sea change in the Republican demographic.

  81. It’s quite obvious that all Donald Trump is trying to do with Kanye West is persuade moderate white citizens, in the run-up to the midterms, that he really is genuinely concerned about the sentencing system that has historically incarcerated African-Americans than all of America’s other ethnic groups combined. He advocated for the electrocution of the Central Park Five, for heaven’s sake, even after they were acquitted in court by DNA evidence that cleared them of the gang-rape. How this faux bleeding-heart B-movie plays out will be anyone’s guess but anyone paying attention could clearly see through the sham. The president realizes that his “base” is solidly behind him. He knows that it knows (wink! wink!) that he doesn’t mean a word that he says. Indeed, he’s masterfully playing the role that fate has set him: liar and plunderer of the national (and state of New York) treasuries as he goes on about the “unfairness” of the correctional system. I can see Mike Pence now, laughing up his sleeve. Good Christian that he is, he is Donald Trump’s shadow. And while I’m on criminal injustice, how about the pardon that Pence refused to grant a black man who was unjustly convicted in 1997 for armed robbery? Pence has said that the appeals process must run its course. Of course, the now-vice president has lobbied for pardons for ranchers. But I digress. So, Kanye, tell us: how was your visit to the big house? Did the massa treat you like family?

  82. Absolutely Mr. Trump used Kanye West for political purposes. In a most cruel manner, characterized as an undignified display of sheer opportunism. This president has knowingly surrounded himself with advisers and speech writers consumed with white nationalism, while alleging the issue is actually economic anxiety. There is no alternate explanation. It started with Donald Trump demanding Barack Obama defend his legitimacy as president. Then, as president, Mr.Trump claimed Nazis are very fine people. His administration has offered no serious criminal justice reforms. Police were told to be rough when arresting suspects. Black athletes were singled out to be routinely demeaned for their silent protest. Here's a scholarly analysis of 73 formal speeches made by Donald Trump during the 2016 election--his appeals to white America:

  83. In monarchies and dictatorships, the ruler's personal good will is the only source of justice for the subjects. Kanye is just a few months or years ahead of time.

  84. Blow did you happen to interview Alice Marie Johnson and find out what her take is on the issue? You should have included her thoughts in are opinion

  85. @Jim Johnson was used just as much as Kane. But at least, in her case, Trump accidently did a good thing.

  86. @Jimd Are you giving Kanye credit for something his wife did?

  87. Has ever Trump done anything else than using people to his interests?

  88. "We’re going to make certain categories tougher when it comes to drug dealing and other things. But there has to be a reform because it’s very unfair right now. It’s very unfair to African-Americans. It’s very unfair to everybody.” Thanks for providing the Trump quote above. If there is one thing we have learned from the past two years, Trump stands by his promises. Of course he is still a very strong law and order guy, but if he recognizes that there are inequities, why not try to work with him as Kanye is?

  89. @rpe123 Trump is a very strong law and order guy for YOU and everyone else not in the 1%. THEY, including his son-in-law and thuse daughter and family, are exempt from tax evasion or avoidance - as they prefer to see it - and money laundering etc. Have you not realized that by now?

  90. @rpe123. It is euphemistic to call Trump “a strong law and order guy.” What he, and his many followers are, is authoritarian. They glory in ideas of grievance, punishment, and creating images of the enemy or “bad guy” (or girl — those nasty, impolite women!) Interesting how the ‘bad guy’ is always black or brown or red, always poor (due to his own failings of course, and perhaps maybe just because they were not making $200,000K per year at age 2.) Trump trotting out Kanye West, and poor Jim Brown who looked like he wanted to crawl under a rock, does not disguise Trump’s racism and authoritarian bent. Nor his strong desire to punish, to beat people up, to “Lock her up.” Wake up, people. The barbarian is not at the gate, he is in the Oval Office.

  91. @rpe123 Do you honestly think that Kanye has the answers to help Trump solve this travesty? It's more like Stump Trump. Trump was speechless ( a first!) in his meeting with Kanye because the unfortunate Mr. West was incoherent, rambling and obviously suffering from mental delusions. Not unlike, Mr. Trump, himself. Trump suggesting 'stop and frisk,' which mostly entraps minorities, should give you a clue to who he is, rpe123.

  92. Kanye West obviously doesn’t give a dead, half-eaten rat’s bottom what anyone else thinks about him. If you’re not pale in America, that takes serious self-confidence and guts. I salute him for his self-confidence, willingness to speak his mind and put his personal credibility behind what he believes. And his support of Trump clearly isn’t crazy but mainstream – or Democrats wouldn’t be so concerned at the increasing traction Republicans, overwhelmingly also for Trump, are building as we approach an election that they once saw as their salvation. But Kanye West uses Trump every bit as much as Trump uses him. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Far from not knowing that “the criminal justice system mistreats and over-penalizes black people for drug crimes”, as Charles claims, Trump made such a free admission on-air to Fox. Charles seeks to exploit a sympathy many Americans have for the excessive sentences meted out to low-level drug distributors of color, when what Trump, Pence and others have advocated are harsher sentences for the kingpins at the top – of ANY complexion. And the contemptuous criticism of stop-and-frisk in NYC is extreme. Cops performed them disproportionately in neighborhoods experiencing very high levels of violent crime, and they happened to be neighborhoods of color. If a neighborhood is 80% non-white, then cops focusing on reducing violence in those neighborhoods aren’t going to be stopping a lot white guys, because there are precious few of …

  93. … them walking the streets. It may be that only 6% of stops resulted in arrests, but the levels of violence in almost all of those neighborhoods dropped in NYC – and the cops claim that their stops, and the fear of being caught with an unlicensed weapon resulting from stops, had a lot to do with those reductions in violent crime. I agree with the cops because their arguments make sense, and because they’re backed by the numbers. It’s true that stop-and-frisk was only one tool on a cop’s tool belt, and they may have over-used that one tool, but New Yorkers threw out a LOT of babies with the bathwater by tolerating an effective ban on stop-and-frisk.

  94. @Richard Luettgen "but the levels of violence in almost all of those neighborhoods dropped in NYC – and the cops claim that their stops, and the fear of being caught with an unlicensed weapon resulting from stops, had a lot to do with those reductions in violent crime" "The cops" are mistaken. The levels of violence have stayed down in NYC long after Stop and Frisk was effectively disbanded. And there is little proof stop and frisk was effective at lowering crime, in NYC or Chicago. Correlation does not imply causation, which I am sure you know, but are counting on low-information readers to ignore.

  95. @Richard Luettgen West doesn't care what people think of him and it takes "self confidence" to rant like a foul loon? Trump has compassion for "low-level drug distributors" and what he says on Fox has any relation to what he actually thinks and does? Just wow! That far exceeds even the usual knee-jerked, contrarian sophistry.

  96. Do you think that Kanye really cared or even realized he was being used? He had a public platform that fed his ego. SNL had it right.

  97. There was no altruism in that room. No coherent desire to fix the problem and to reform the root causes of America's unmatched incarceration rates. Only two shallow people exploiting each other. And in so doing, both exploited the dignity of the White House and mocked cadres of people working hard for prison reform and for the well-being of communities and neighborhoods--people who really care.

  98. Trump said it all when he praised Alice Marie Johnson, who was convicted of cocaine distribution, as unfairly treated in the very same breath in which he promised to “make certain categories tougher when it comes to drug dealing.” Our President may orchestrate a little air time with “his” African American but his real message was the same open code as Nixon’s “War on Drugs” that Reagan doubled down on: Don’t worry, white people. We’ll keep all those folks of color behind bars for you.

  99. We now have politics based on social media followers and "likes". We are a full-blown Idiocracy.

  100. Trump hasn't mentioned Kanye in a tweet since September 30. No tweet re Kanye at this event. What does this say about its importance?

  101. My impression of the coverage was: This could have been scripted by Samuel Becket - it is absurd. We have a Black celebrity praising a White celebrity using all of the anti-Black sentiments making the White celebrity glow with pride. Who was playing the other or was it simply mutual playing with neither side realizing the absurdity. Clearly, Gudot isn't coming any time soon. Maybe in some fourth act, but not soon.

  102. Sadder still was Trump's exploitation of a mentally ill man. Kanye's battle with bipolar disorder has been public and heartbreaking. He has appeared on multiple television shows where he has exhibited erratic and manic behavior, and then been ridiculed afterward. Though he is surrounded by family and hangers-on, it seems little is done to actually help Kanye. Trump's cynical manipulation of Kanye is just one more in long line of examples of the cruelty Trump can inflict for his own benefit. For anyone who has suffered from bipolar disorder or who has a loved one who has, that White House meeting can only have been distressing to witness. Kanye is a man in need of help. I hope he gets it.

  103. What really got me in this whole charade was how Trump exploited an apparently severely mentally ill man. He gouged Kanye who, like other mentally ill persons, was tragically vulnerable to exploitation. Other human beings have no meaning for Trump; they are merely tools to be used for his own glorification. Of course we know he is also ill with a personality disorder, but Kanye’s mind is shockingly disorganized and his family should see to him getting immediate care, without which he may be headed for tragedy. Trump will manipulate even damaged souls and victims of all kinds, hurricane for example, to his own advantage. He is a bottomless human vacuum.

  104. Trump is just as deranged as West and they are both just doing what they want to do. West wanted to promote Trump and be in the Oval Office. Trump wanted the enthusiastic endorsement of a famous black artist. They both got what they wanted. I hate Trump but to scold him for entertaining West is taking it too far. Why was this piece even printed?

  105. "drug dealing" just the name gets you riled up because of the intense unrelenting propaganda from evil Uncle Sam. Think about it "drugs" what does that mean? In this country it refers to chemical compounds that are NOT made by big pharma who has bribed our entire political system. So who is the real drug dealer or dealers? We all know now that the real villains the real bad guys all wear expensive suits and work for a company that has bribed Congress therefor they are "legal" and those who do not bribe are deemed villains but what is the difference? The reality shows us that the big companies like Purdue who has addicted our entire nation to opioids have virtually no punishment. I don't see SWAT invading homes or offices I don't see ALL of their property confiscated, I don't l see anything but profits as the crisis rages on in a country so vile it refuses to provide health care for it's own citizens. The dumbest thing we ever did was criminalize compounds or plants based solely on racism. Our war on drugs has killed our nation.

  106. So Mr. Blow, is Trump "using" Joy Villa too? How many Americans are you going to disparage for having freedom of thought? Do you also support Don Lemon's "token" line? Must someone be eloquent when speaking in the oval office, as Bakari Sellers demanded. Doesn't an American, of any color, have the right to be heard in the oval office without being scripted, or in the majority. Free speech is a thing, like due process. Just imagine an America where a black man doesn't get a job just because a white woman accused him of anything, and the black man is told he's not eloquent enough to defend himself.

  107. The Kanye spectacle was classic narcissistic behavior on Trump's part. He doesn't mind using people as long as doing so brings attention to him. When you pair that with Trump's demonstrated lack of a moral compass, what you have is an unfolding tragedy that's likely to get worse before it gets better.

  108. Stop and Frisk could be worse. When I and my Russian-speaking Finnish girlfriend took our place at the end of a very long line moving slowly to the opening of Lenin's tomb in Red Square in Moscow the winter of 1973, a sandwich I had not yet eaten bulged my winter coat pocket noticeably. A Soviet soldier with a rifle slung over his shoulder walked up to me, patted the bulge and said something in Russian. "He wants you to show him what's in your pocket", my girl translated. "And suppose I don't feel like showing it to him?" I responded. "Then he'll shoot you," she announced matter of factly. I pulled out the sandwich, he looked at it, and walked away. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov saved again!

  109. I don’t keep in touch much with America’s popular “culture,” but what I saw of Mr. West the other day tells me that he is a perfect fit for President Trump, who by his promises to Make America Great Again for his supporters is bringing long needed interest and attention to the hopes and dreams of mentally confused Americans.

  110. It was nothing more or less than a misdirection play, at a time when the questions about the missing/dead/dismembered reporters began to surface. "Look over here; look at this shiny thing!"

  111. "Trump’s Callous Use of Kanye" I thought it was obvious from Trump's silence that it was Kanye that used Trump. Both will throw anything under the bus for money.

  112. Don't know what I saw there, except two damaged personalities which interlocked in bizarre fashion. While there is some logic in "Don't vote dems just because you are expected to", it pales in comparison to "GOP works all day to gerrymander and purge YOUR vote". Prison reform ? Sure, privatize it....that's Trump Prison Reform.

  113. As I expected , exhaustion is setting in . The president, (small p ) , is destroying whatever fabric was left holding together America’s political and social norms . The circus seems to never leave town . We here n New York have known this fool for a long time , he was a foot note on the social scene since the 80’s . So now , the same tourists who flock to the old trade center site , like ghouls , to stare into a pit , have rallied around him like children running after the ice cream man . He will never hold a rally in NYC because we know him all too well. He comes to your America , the one that is narrow minded, scared and looking for a daddy figure to make the uncertainty of the future and today’s issues disappear with knee jerk, uninformed , science denying catch phrases. We are expected to lead the way here in this country . The damage being done with the buffoon in office will become harder to repair as time goes by . I look forward to the day that the circus truly leaves town for good .

  114. Mr. West is cozying up to POTUS because he chooses to do so. And, his own wealth and fame allow him to do so. Kindred spirits, it would seem. Mr. West, Ms. Kardashian, and POTUS are among the 1% (at least POTUS claims to be) who want to continue multiplying their wealth at the expense of others. I don't see it as exploitation. It's two birds of a feather.

  115. @JaneM Well said JaneM. Blow's talk of a "cry for help" and the notion that Kayne West being used is comical, and, I would think in Blow's world, profoundly insulting that any African-American supporting Trump was so unaware they could be easily manipulated. They just aren't smart and need psychological help, Blow concluded It is class, not stupidity or a cry for help. Social class makes a profound difference - black, white, brown, yellow, red and everything in between. Like the inability of the Meetoo women to explain the vicious women in government and CEOs, Blow is intellectually unable to deal with the contradictions.

  116. @JaneM: It is BOTH. If Kanye was not so needy, so gullible, and so attention-seeking, trump would not be able to involve him. We do know that there are thousands of celebrities who would not be seen dead or alive with trump.

  117. Blacks criticized Kanye because he is black. Supporting Trump while black.

  118. Trump is hoping that Kanye will generate votes from African Americans in November.

  119. Racist attacks on Kanye West from Democrats are a new low. Probably won't last long before some other new low is hit, though. It is really getting out of control. This is what a party in crash and burn mode looks like.

  120. Racist attacks from Democrats... Seriously? Most of the attacks toward Kanye have come from the black community. Most of the people I have heard speak about it are seriously concerned for his mental health and justifiably so. Trump used Kanye to keep himself in the news cycle and it backfired on him.

  121. I've never listened to any of Mr. Wests songs, but in the past, many people have called him some type of genius. From what I have seen with his Trump worship, he comes off as a real dummy. The Trump history of racist attitudes is loud and clear. In his memorable campaign announcement a couple of years ago, he called Mexicans murderers and rapists, etc. I'm at a total loss trying to understand how any minority group can see a friend in the hate mongering, divisive, Donald Trump.

  122. I agree with everything that Charles said.

  123. Another clownfest which misfired for Trump this time. The days of this circus is beginning to lose it's appeal even for the faithful supporters of the defective ringmaster.

  124. The whole Kanye in the Oval Office is really troubling and is exasperated by the timing. Ioccurred around the time Hurricane Michael was causing deadly havoc and Saudi Arabia is suspected to have killed a US resident. While both Donald and Kanye seem to have major personality issues only one is the POTUS.

  125. I usually agree with Mr. Blow but in this case I do not. Kanye West chose to meet Trump in the WH. He's not a victim. He's an enabler.

  126. They deserve each other.

  127. After watching some of the Kanye photo op in the oval, I kept thinking about how the right wing media and candidate Trump would have reacted if it had been done during the Obama administration. They would have pounced on it like it was the end of civilization. Kanye is nuts and so is Trump. The War on Drugs was concocted to hassle anti Viet Nam war liberals and has caused untold damage to minority communities for years. The left coast states have figured this out, the voters have figured this out, and it is high time Washington figures this out. Kanye needs mental health help and so does narcissist Donny.

  128. Trump doesn't care about ANY issues that don't immediately concern himself. The meeting was just another pep rally for his own ego, but Kanye's an adult; he can look out for himself. I'm more concerned about his claiming this morning that "rogue killers" killed Kashoggi because the Saudi king says he knows nothing about it. I am truly sick of his dragging our country through the mud, relinquishing our leadership in every area. He has no morals himself, of course, but our country used to.

  129. Sure Trump used West... but only because West allowed himself to be played. A dupe duped by a dupe...

  130. Mr West let himself be used. I do not feel sorry for him. He may indeed need psychiatric help, but he has hitched his wagon to Mr Trump out of his own free will. For a fading star, a few minute in the limelight is everything. Perhaps now he realizes we all are looking at a pathetic has been.

  131. If Mr. West had an ounce of self-awareness and knowledge about the criminal justice system, he would have walked into the Oval Office, shook the President's hand, taken a knee, not said a word for 60 seconds, stood up and left. But then if the President had an ounce of integrity and knowledge about the criminal justice system, he wouldn't have to. Still I suppose Mr. West performed a small service: an hour spent talking gibberish with celebrities is an hour less that the profoundly lazy Trump has to spend meeting with Steven Miller on how to reinstitute the caging of brown children at the border or with Jeff Sessions on how to put more Americans in prison or death row for drugs.

  132. Trump thought this performance by a patently unhinged African American multi-millionaire would improve his standing among American Blacks? That it would divert attention from more than thirty years of blatant racism, continuing right through his illegitimate presidency? I believe...and fervently hope...Trump is mistaken.

  133. Trump's abuse of a Kanye is sickening, and predictable.

  134. West has publicly acknowledged that he has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and, more recently, that he is not taking his meds. Trump's photo op with Black Celebrities was not only clueless and cynical, it was cruel.

  135. Seeing Trump use someone who is clearly mentally ill is more than cringe-worthy, it is despicable. This man has no empathy, no common sense and no moral compass. But what am I saying, he actually paved the way for outright murder by taking money from and schmoozing with the thugs running Saudi Arabia and Russia. How many bodies must we step over and incarcerate before people figure it out. I hope someday to see Trump pay for his crimes by donning an orange jumpsuit. Like Al Capone, it might be over tax evasion and money laundering rather than the murder and mayhem he has wrought on the nation and the world.

  136. There is no excuse for either of these narcissists trying to pretend they care about other people of any color. Having delusions of grandeur and an audience that is thirsting for entertainment of any kind means we have them in our face every time we look at the news, but why have we allowed them to infest our government? You can pity them, make jokes about them, hate them, and try to ignore them, but the bigger question remains. Why are people so focused on sick, creepy individuals like these while our environment and all life that depends on it is being rapidly destroyed?

  137. Kanye appears to be mentally ill and the republicans gleefully allow him to make a fool of himself and then they try to Hold it up as some kind of tolerance Kanye needs help but the republicans would rather use him and laugh at him. A true low point

  138. Kanye also wants to "use" Trump in support for his projects. What was "sad and tragic" is that you have two mentally ill men--Kanye with apparently uncontrolled bipolar disorder, and Trump with an anti-personality narcissism disorder each needing to share a sick ego high. It's a case of not one, but "Two Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." In Kanye's case, there are successful treatments such as lithium that he needs and could stabilize him. The real tragedy for Donald Trump, the nation, and the world is that sociopathic narcissism is difficult to treat at best, and with a 71-year old man almost impossible. It may be too late for him, but let's just hope that we wake up in time to escape "The Madness of King Donald."

  139. We should remember that we have gratuitously mean-spirited, hypocritical and sanctimonious leaders like Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and Mike Pence in power because we put them there. We have seen the enemy and it is we. Our leadership mirrors us.

  140. It wasn't long ago that we had a president who could articulate an intelligible, consistent, constructive national policy message in good grammatical form and remember what he said from day to day. This Trump character is being propped up by Republicans in Congress and the excruciatingly thoroughgoing catalog of high crimes and misdemeanors that Robert Mueller is slowly compiling. Haven't we had enough?

  141. Mr. Blow, Kanye West is responsible for Kanye West. He is an adult. Please respect him as such and stop excusing his ignorance.

  142. That little show for the press was cringe inducing - I couldn't keep watching. Kanye's performance on SNL was bad as well. It's hard to watch someone crash and burn so hard on the national stage.

  143. What happened in the Oval Office with west was disgusting to say the least. But then, everything that involves that person in the White House is disgusting. He is the most uninformed, unplugged, unhinged person who, sadly is playing the part of a President. He should never be interviewed.....last nights 60 Minutes proved that. He seems to want the world to acknowledge just how unfit he is for the job. He and his crooked cohorts should go back to his reality show, and then and only then it can be all about him.

  144. Oh please, Kanye wants to be exploited. He isn’t doing anything he doesn’t choose to do.

  145. @Alexandra Hamilton So true. Let's face it - he didn't marry Kim Kardashian for her brains or her beauty. She has neither. What she does have is a love of publicity and notoreity. Strictly self serving and self aggrandizing. Just like Trump. Is it a wonder he invited HER to the Oval office and not a strong, intelligent woman? Strong, intelligent women scare and repulse him. They expose his many and varied weaknesses.

  146. “... we have every right to be incredulous about Trump’s manufactured concern for the criminal justice system’s propensity to chew up black lives and destroy them.” There is not a person in Trump’s sphere that he would not happily throw under the bus the moment they have outlived their usefulness to him, and that certainly includes Kanye West- his current useful idiot “du jour.” Trump is a man without empathy whose concern for others stops at his own fingertips, and when he thinks about our justice system at all, it’s generally to ask for the harshest penalties to be applied, even to those proven innocent. Donald Trump is no judicial reformer, he is Madame Defarge.

  147. Charles is correct again. However, everything that this white house does is equally fraudulent. This was the first time I saw Kanye and I must say he is as much a fool as Trump.

  148. Kanye and Trump used each other. Trump and Kanye are joined together at the hip for their hatred of one person. You know .....that guy that had the nerve to call them both inept and ignorant. President Obama knew what he was talking about. Birds of a feather....flock together. The GOP blasted Mr. Obama for his meeting with rappers but highly praised these two. Go figure.

  149. Oh please. Save your sympathy. This is just Kanye being a Kardassian. That entire pantheon could live by the motto: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."; and he certainly married into the right clan to nurture his ego and narcissism. Like attracts like. So it should surprise no one that they found a kindred spirit in 45.

  150. Trump is nothing more than a narcissistic soul crushing bully. Democrats: The progressive party. Republicans: The regressive party. Reverse Citizens United.

  151. Hi Charles Thank you for your column. I know hiw despicable the fake president is. However Kanye hiw could you? Kanye is an adult with every resource available to inform him. He does this? I really lost faith with his, to me snide, fashion show at MSG. It displayed very expensive clothes, based on homeless people’s dress. In other words he devised to profit on misfortune, selling expensive clothes with holes and tears. Speaking of tears that made me cry. Please get help Kanye.

  152. Kanye is seriously mentally ill. This is unmistakable. Why anyone would think this would keep Trump from using him as a political prop is beyond me. When has Trump ever, ever, ever shown he has an ounce of decency?

  153. Trump is a transactional leader who uses everyone around him for his own oblivious rat races between his id and ego. He is in turn used by everyone around him. Doesn't that remind you of, say, Kanye West? True one percenters. I'm less inclined to give Ye the victim role but that's just me.

  154. If anyone has explained why Jim Brown was sitting next to Kanye in the meeting, I haven't seen it. And while we're at it, who originally suggested the meeting take place? And don't stop there, does anyone know what they all discussed at lunch? I don't know about anyone else who has listened to a full replay of what Kanye said, but to my way of paying close attention, he was not at all "incoherent". And I'd like to know where I can get one of his new hats with "Make America Great" on it. I hope they are blue, so Democrats can wear them, and shout, "Lock him up!" at you know who.

  155. Poor Jim Brown, sitting there, undoubtedly thinking to himself: stuck in the middle of two fools. Somebody should interview Jim Brown, on the promise not to release the video until Trump's finally out of office.

  156. It was somewhere between a circus of elephant admiration and a freak show of clowns.

  157. Trump knows his audience. Kanye is right about one thing, a certain demographic views us (blacks) as monolithic and really mindless pawns that vote blue every year. What Kanye doesn't understand that voting is a lot more than preference for millions of minorities and other groups-it's life and death. Trump uses Kanye and other blacks like him to show how he can't be racist because one famous black guy loves him. How far we have come........

  158. Imagine being a conservative who woke up from a 10-year coma and saw this "meeting"!

  159. Notice that Trump just sat there and pretend to nod/listen while his Dennis Rodman ranted. Trump is incapable of dialoguing, even of listening to others. His brain, what remains of it, doesn’t work well enough to respond substantively. Imagine what an impediment that is to being our President!

  160. Is this what America has become? A nation where the leader uses others for his own gain, while simultaneously being used without knowing so by many others, most notably the republican politicians who enable him to do their bidding? SAD!

  161. I would certainly agree that it's hard to underestimate Trump's unprincipled venality and crass opportunism. But Kanye West, no child of the ghetto himself, can't possibly have believed Trump really wanted to talk to him about the topics mentioned. Why West chose to do this I can't say. But the bizarre Oval Office event certainly looks as though for once there was someone in the room weirder and more incoherent than Trump.

  162. Remembering Donald Trump's very public calls for punishing the Central Park Five, five young men who lost years of their lives due to a gross miscarriage of justice. Is Kanye West aware of this part of Trump's long history of hostility toward equal justice for all Americans? West appears to be desperate for attention, and Trump cynically exploits that.

  163. Two narcissists using each other...and all those cameras.

  164. I believe you ascribe a consciousness and intellect to Trump that he simply does not possess. Like most people, and many world leaders, Trump is mostly unconscious about his motivations and behavior. If Kanye West is being used by Trump for politics then he is also being used for entertainment by SNL, his fans, and media pundits. If he is truly mentally ill and in need of help, then we should all be ashamed and embarrassed for ourselves and our callous inhumanity which is the true source of injustice. Trump and Kanye are very much alike, and the population is seeking entertainment and comfort in its unconscious haze. How else could a person who is unwilling to take responsibility for actions from an alcoholic stupor 35 years ago be acceptable as a judge on the supreme court.

  165. Two men who understand the value of publicity for self-enrichment---nothing more, and nothing less.

  166. @James "Hollywood!" as the WWII Japanese submariner cried out.

  167. @James Interestingly, both are mentally ill.

  168. @James Both spectacularly nuts.

  169. This is one spectacle I couldn't bring myself to watch. But then again, I always go out of my way to avoid watching anything Donald Trump has to say live on TV. In any case, at least the SNL send-up was spot on -- and probably more informative than the actual event.

  170. Excellent article. I am from Hyde Park in Chicago. I lived here since I was 21 I am 71+ knew Kanye history before the Kardashian's. They eat men for breakfast. He is spinning out of control under their watch. So the article: On point Mr Bow. I pray for this young man has children. He grew up without his father around. Lost his mom, didn't take off to grieve. Young people are in denial about death of a parent someone they feel will be here til they are 100 years old. She managed him. I have 4 black grandsons. I watch them grow lived in house with them often. I had a strong African American dad, my grandfather was educated and cousins. I worked with kids. For 55 years. They are our future. Destroying Public Education will fill up prisons and crime will rise. So invest in Education. War is privilege white man legacy. Creates wealth by selling those million dollar weapons. But atomic kills. "Everyone"Thanks for the great article.

  171. I get why Trump is willing to use/abuse Kanye. But I cannot for the life of me figure out what Kanye thinks this is doing for his "brand".

  172. Like the "troubled rapper" I too have a bipolar condition, a more accurate label I learned from my BP hero Richard Dreyfuss. It's harder to fight stigma when the term 'disorder' is attached. Search history, hard to find any innovation or novel insight from somebody who didn't have an affective disorder, from da Vinci to Jobs. Both these paradigm-shifting geniuses regarded as having been BP. Like Kanye, I've been embarrassed myself by a mistimed 'word salad'. I can tell you it almost never reflects the true state of my rationality, but rather the enthusiasm of ideas coupled with high creativity and a limited social filter. But my gaffes were made at an holiday dinner or on a first date, not witnessed and mocked globally. Leave the poor man alone.

  173. @Henry Bogle I am sympathetic, Henry, but the issue is far more consequential than just this one exceedingly wealthy person grappling with a mental disorder. He is being used to simultaneously prop up Trump's "non-racism" and also a false humanistic concern for prisoners, neither of which he cares one whit about. Kanye was used as a prop to further racism and the anti-social and selfish concerns of Trump and his wild-eyed Cult Base. Kanye provided cover so that his base can continue deluding themselves about their Cult Hero. --------------------------- Democrats are being totally outflanked when they somehow think that respect of a deranged and often violent "art form" (Kanye), and the acceptance of scaring folk with Beyoncé's Tribute to Black Panthers, is somehow useful to re-uniting this Country. And suggesting open-borders, another strident note in these unbalanced times, may well cost this election. Wise up Dems, various right-wing operations are playing you. And me, as a life long left wing Democrat.