Kanye West will not be running for president. Instead, he is “walking” for president and teased that he might be trying to pull votes away from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, he told Forbes in a text-message interview.
The development comes as various Republican figures and operatives, including President Donald Trump, are suspected of trying to get West on state ballots to help his reelection campaign. Trump and his campaign denied helping West get on the ballot. Trump told reporters at The White House Wednesday that he had nothing to do with West being on the ballot. West did not name anybody specifically involved in helping him appear.
West’s presidential run could potentially strip Black voters away from Biden, who represent a key demographic for a potential victory. The former vice president’s turning point in the primary elections was his victory in South Carolina, where he won a significant share of Black people’s votes. When asked whether he is trying to take votes away from the former Vice President, West told Forbes, “I’m not denying it; I just told you.”
While West might get some votes, Forbes notes that he does not qualify for enough state ballots to get the 270 Electoral College votes necessary for a victory. He faced challenges gaining access to the ballots in multiple states, including Illinois and South Carolina. Also, a write-in campaign, the outlet notes, is not viable. In response, West said to Forbes, “I’m not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.”
West also said to Forbes that he is “designing a school within the next month” and plans to meet with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about his plans. Neither DeVos nor her office responded to the outlet. When the interviewer told Kanye that multiple electors residing at the same address and an operative arrested for voter fraud did not feel like a Kanye West production, West responded by saying it was a “God production.”
The rapper and producer announced his 2020 campaign on July 4. Originally, West announced his intentions to run for president at the 2015 Video Music Awards. Following a public meltdown in 2016, which included a Twitter feud with Wiz Khalifa and ex Amber Rose and a rant against Beyonce and Jay-Z in concert, West checked himself into UCLA Medical Center for mental health struggles. After meeting with Trump shortly following his hospitalization, he announced his support for the president, delaying his election bid to 2024. After reactivating his Twitter account in 2018, West became much more vocal in his support for Trump.