President Donald Trump credited his budding alliance with hip-hop mogul Kanye West for a dramatic uptick in his support within the African-American community, a spike so dramatic that Trump said he himself could not believe it.
“Kanye West must have some power because you probably saw I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week,” Trump said in an aside during his remarks at the NRA’s annual meeting in Dallas. “Thank you, Kanye. Thank you. When I saw the number, I said that must be a mistake, how can that happen? Even the pollsters thought there must be a mistake. No, we’ve come a long way.”
Trump was seemingly making reference to a Reuters weekly tracking poll, which showed support for the president among African-American men jumping from 11 percent in a poll released April 22 to 22 percent in a poll released April 29.
West, in the intervening week between the two polls, offered a rousing endorsement for the president, declaring on Twitter that “the mob can't make me not love him” and that he and the president “are both dragon energy.” West, who visited Trump Tower during the presidential transition period, also shared a photo of a “Make America Great Again” hat with what appeared to be Trump’s autograph and another photo of him wearing what appeared to be the same hat.
The hip-hop icon and Chicago native also lobbed a criticism at Trump’s rhetorical nemesis, former President Barack Obama, writing online that “Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.”
Trump replied in kind on Twitter, writing in one post that West had “performed a great service to the Black Community” and sharing the rapper’s photo of the autographed “Make America Great Again” hat with his own “MAGA!” message attached.
Addressing an overwhelmingly favorable crowd in Dallas, Trump championed his administration’s claimed successes and suggested that the support of black Americans has begun to swing his way amid a decreasing African-American unemployment rate.
“You remember, I'd come into big rooms, big audiences and I’d say ‘what do you have to lose?’ Because the Democrats have always had their vote. I said ‘what do you have to lose?’ Horrible on crime. Horrible on education. Horrible on everything,” Trump said. “And they voted for me and we won, but now the numbers are much higher than they ever were with African-Americans and we're happy.”