In a marathon, three-hour interview with Joe Rogan, rapper Kanye West claimed it was "God's plan" for him to become the "leader of the free world," which is why he launched a campaign to run for president. God put the idea in West's heart in 2015, he said and noted that President Donald Trump's election in 2016 showed him people outside of politics could become president. West did not announce his third-party candidacy until July 4 and has only released one campaign video.
"It was something that God put in my heart back in 2015," West said, adding it was just days before the MTV Music Video Awards. "When I first thought of it, I just started laughing to myself and all this joy came over my body, through my soul. I felt that energy. I felt that spirit," he explained. His friends and colleagues did not go along with the idea. West himself decided he could not run until he became a billionaire, since he was "around $50 million in debt" in 2015 and he "knew I had the confidence that I would be able to turn that around."
Trump's victory proved to West that you could become president "if you come from outside of politics." Rogan did ask why West wanted to run for president first before a governorship. "If it's in God's plan that part of my path is to be the governor then that's fine, but my calling is to be the leader of the free world," West said, notes Us Weekly.
After West announced his campaign, questions arose about the connections his campaign operatives had with Republicans. In July, he had his only in-person campaign event in South Carolina, where his speech focused on personal revelations. He teared up as he told supporters he and wife Kim Kardashian West thought about aborting her first pregnancy. West cried because there was a "possible chance" he might not have the family he has today, he told Rogan.
"The idea of it just tears me up inside that I was a part of a culture that promotes this kind of thing," West, who shares four children with Kardashian, said. "One of the major statistics on the subject of life is that the greatest advocates for the A-word [abortion] are men from ages 31 to 37. That's how old I was. I felt like I was too busy. My dad felt like he was too busy for me. We have a culture of that."
West also blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the late start to his campaign, a delay that left him off the ballot in some states. West said he had a "mild case" of COVID-19 himself. "I had the virus, and I was sitting, quarantined in my house, and my cousin texted me about being prepared to run for president," West said, reports Billboard. "I just completely put it off to the side 'cause I was like shivering, having the shakes, taking hot showers, eating soup." West later added the pandemic "threw everybody's plans off."