Kanye Talks Running For Prez With 'Vanity Fair'

by Jenny Hollander

Listen up: Kanye West wants you to know that he's dead serious about running for president. In his interview with Vanity Fair, available online Thursday morning, Kanye expounded on his plans to run for president. And, contrary to what I and many others believed in the aftermath of the VMAs, it's totally a thing. Listen to this: "When I run for president, I’d prefer not to run against someone. I would be like 'I want to work with you.'" West then told reporter Dirk Standen he was "definitely" considering it. (Because if Donald Trump can do it, why can't he? Why can't I?)

Kanye also wants you to know that even though the interview was first and foremost about his clothing line, he's a guy who cares deeply about both. "Sweatshirts are f***ing important. That might sound like the funniest quote ever. How can you say all this stuff about running for president in 2020 and then say sweatshirts are important? But they are. Just mark my words. Mark my words like Mark Twain," he told Standen.

Oh, and West is a big fan of Ben Carson — the far-right neurosurgeon most recently famous for saying that Muslim Americans shouldn't be president. Great. "As soon as I heard [Ben] Carson speak, I tried for three weeks to get on the phone with him," West told Standen. "I was like, this is the most brilliant guy. And I think all the people running right now have something that each of the others needs. But the idea of this separation and this gladiator battle takes away from the main focus that the world needs help and the world needs all the people in a position of power or influence to come together."

I'm more than a little concerned that West, a self-professed independent, looks up to Ben Carson.

Standen then said to Kanye, "When you said that [you were running for president] at the V.M.A.s, I thought the reaction was surprising. People didn’t seem to dismiss the idea. You would have thought there would be more of an outcry." Kanye, being Kanye, was a big fan of that perspective:

As soon as I said that, it was like, “Wait a second, we would really be into that, because actually if you think about it, he’s extremely thoughtful. Every time he’s ever gotten in trouble, he was really jumping in front of a bullet for someone else. He’s probably the most honest celebrity that we have.”

Outside of the more "say what?" moments when he referenced trying to be the leader of the free world, West spoke poignantly about the impact of his childhood on his ambitions. (West's mother Donda died in 2007):

I sit in clubs and I’m like, Wow, I’ve got five years before I go and run for office and I’ve got a lot of research to do, I’ve got a lot of growing up to do. My dad has two masters degrees. My mom has a PhD, she used to work at Operation PUSH. Somehow the more and more creative I get, the closer and closer I get to who I was as a child. When I was a child, I was holding my mom’s hand at Operation PUSH. I think it’s time.

You can read the full interview here.