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Kanye West and Donald Trump Take Chaos Mainstream in the Oval Office

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West and Trump, photographed inside the Oval Office at the White House on October 11, 2018.

By Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images.

Comedian John Mulaney has compared Trump’s presidency to a horse being let loose into a hospital. On Thursday, there were two horses—and one was Kanye West.

The rapper and designer visited Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday, ostensibly to witness the signing of a bill about musicians and streaming services (Kid Rock was also there), and, per Kim Kardashian West, to talk to Trump about his ideas that “revolve around inner-city Chicago.” The bill was signed, but what happened next was, essentially, what has happened any time West has been in front of a live microphone in the last decade: he talked about everything and nothing, this time in front of what might be the most appreciative audience he’s even encountered.

In a 10-minute monologue broadcast live on CNN and other networks, West announced that his bipolar diagnosis from a 2016 hospitalization was incorrect, and that he is actually just sleep-deprived. He also praised Trump for giving him a “Superman cape“ to do good, and said “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. And he might not have expected to have a crazy motherfucker like Kanye West [supporting him].” It seems likely West is one of the first people to say “motherfucker” in front of cameras in the Oval Office, earning some pearl-clutching from some of the Washington press corps.

When the speech was over, Trump, perhaps speechless for the first time, said, “I tell you what that was pretty impressive . . . That was quite something.” West then replied: “It was from the soul. I just channeled it.”

West has been taking his tour of non sequiturs on the road recently, first launching into a pro-Trump rant at the end of Saturday Night Live’s season premiere two weeks ago, then sharing his thoughts on everything from his new album to Colin Kaepernick on TMZ Live with Harvey Levin. S.N.L. cast member Kenan Thompson, who left before West took the stage, told Seth Meyers that it seemed like West was holding the cast hostage.

West has been a staunch supporter of Trump since he visited the then-president-elect at Trump Tower back in December 2016. Since then, he’s taken up Trump’s favorite pastime of tweeting every thought that passes through his mind (though he abruptly deleted social-media accounts last week), often praising Trump’s personality and policies, and choosing similar enemies. After the S.N.L. rant, it was clear that West was firmly on Trump’s radar:

“Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it)—no longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems,” he wrote. “Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great. He’s leading the charge!”

Everyone in that Oval Office is old enough to remember when Trump’s favorite talking head, Sean Hannity, was apoplectic about Common’s visit to the White House. Or when Fox News proclaimed that “Obama’s Hip-Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs.” The difference with West, who has not always been a Republican cheerleader, is that he’s one of the few A-list supporters of a man whose favored currency has always been celebrity. As much as one might not expect one of the world’s foremost narcissists to take a shine to another such ego, Trump has clearly found something convenient in West—and West, as much as it’s possible to divine his intentions, will happily share that spotlight.

West’s visit to the White House was exactly the spectacle expected, distracting from a potential diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Michael in Florida, where at least one city was reportedly razed hours before West went to Washington. And West, though known to make promises he can’t keep, seemed to guarantee that he’ll continue being a complementary figure for Trump, not competition.

When a reporter asked Trump about the possibility of a presidential candidate West, he said it “could very well be.”

“Only after 2024,” West added.

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Photo: By Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Melania Trump wears a floral jacket.

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Melania Trump wears heels to Texas during Hurricane Harvey.

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Melania Trump wears a jacket that says "I really don't care, do you?"

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Melania Trump wears controversial Christian Louboutin shoes.

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Melania Trump photographed in Africa wearing a questionable hat.

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Photo: By Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

October 2016: Pussy-bow blouse

October 2016: Pussy-bow blouse

One of Trump’s first headline-making sartorial choices was the pink blouse she wore to one of the presidential debates in October 2016. The debate came just days after the release of the Access Hollywood tape, which caught a 2005-era Donald Trump on a hot mic making disparaging comments about women to Billy Bush, saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy.” The Gucci blouse Trump wore to the debate happened to feature a prominent “pussy-bow” detail, which may or may not have been a total coincidence. Melania, as usual, did not explain further.

By Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

May 2017: $51,500 Dolce & Gabbana jacket

May 2017: $51,500 Dolce & Gabbana jacket

Trump wore the floral Dolce & Gabbana jacket during a visit to Sicily in May 2017, a seemingly innocuous choice—Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian fashion house, and fashion diplomacy is a First Lady tradition. She raised eyebrows, however, when people learned that the coat retailed for $51,500.

By Giovanni Isolino/AFP/Getty Images.

August 2017: Hurricane heels

August 2017: Hurricane heels

While Texas was dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, Donald and Melania Trump suited up to see the damage firsthand, which, for Melania, included a pair of sky-high stilettos. While she changed into more sensible footwear before landing, it was an indelible image of the First Lady sauntering into a natural-disaster zone in heels.

By Alex Wong/Getty Images.

August 2017: “FLOTUS” baseball cap

August 2017: “FLOTUS” baseball cap

While visiting a firehouse in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Trump took a page out of her husband’s own fashion handbook, wearing a baseball cap with “FLOTUS” embroidered across the front. Call it MAGA merch, but make it fashion.

By Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

September 2017: Gardening in Balmain

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January 2018: All-white at the State of the Union

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By Chris Kleponis/Sipa USA.

June 2018: “I Really Don’t Care” jacket

June 2018: “I Really Don’t Care” jacket

The jacket read round the world. During a June 2018 visit to a detention center in Texas housing migrant children separated from their families at the Mexican border, Trump donned a Zara jacket that read “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” As it turned out, people really did. Her particular choice in outerwear was almost universally deemed insensitive given where she was going and her husband’s immigration policies that resulted in families being broken up for weeks at a time. Later, an anonymous source told The New York Times that the message on her jacket was actually aimed at anyone “who wanted to criticize her decision to visit the children in light of the administration’s aggressive immigration policies.” Still, it’s hard to interpret such a layered message through a jacket alone.

By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

July 2018: “Trash flair” Louboutins

July 2018: “Trash flair” Louboutins

Shortly after her Zara jacket fiasco, Trump headed off to Europe with her husband in a pair of red-and-nude Louboutins. While this normally wouldn’t be anything newsworthy, the particular heels worn by Trump in July 2018 were an $800 pair made from pieces of “hand-torn” Louboutin shopping bags and described by the brand as having an “audacious new trash flair.”

By Al Drago/Getty Images.

October 2018: Pith helmet in Kenya

October 2018: Pith helmet in Kenya

Criticized for wearing the headwear associated with colonialism in Africa during her trip to Kenya in October 2018, Trump told the press that she wished “people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.” A few days later, a clip from her ABC interview with Tom Llamas showed Trump seated, with the hat strategically placed on a table beside her, making it all the more difficult for people to pay attention to anything else.

By Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

Credit:Vanity Fair

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