The rapper says his Make America Great Again hat makes him feel like “superman”, and of the president: “I love this guy.”
Kanye West appeared to stun Donald Trump into silence as he delivered an expletive-filled rant at the White House.
Meeting the president in front of reporters and photographers in the Oval Office, the superstar rapper gave Mr Trump little chance to speak as he made a wide-ranging, off-the-cuff address.
He sported a “Make America Great Again” hat – popularised during the president’s campaign in 2016 – and revealed that his friends had tried to scare him into not wearing it.
Nevertheless, he said he had “enough balls to put on this hat” as it made him feel like “superman”, adding: “People expect that if you’re black, you have to be Democrat.”
Speaking about his childhood, West said: “My dad and my mom separated, so I didn’t have a lot of male energy in my home.”
Saying how he looked up to Mr Trump, he hugged the president and said: “I love this guy,” describing him as a “master of industry” and a “builder”.
Asked about guns, West said: “The problem is illegal guns, not legal guns. We have the right to bear arms.”
He also proposed that Mr Trump get rid of Air Force One and purchase a hydrogen-powered aeroplane.
Becoming philosophical, West observed: “Time is a myth. All we have is now, all we have is today.”
Turning to the economy, West said employment was a major priority.
“It’s more important than any specific deal – anything – that we bring jobs into America,” he said.
“We have to bring jobs into America because our best export is entertainment and ideas, but when we make everything in China and not America we are cheating our country.”
After several minutes of silence and listening intently, the president said: “I tell you what, that was pretty impressive, folks… that was quite something,” adding later: “He’s a smart cookie – he gets it.”
West and Mr Trump were set to discuss a range of issues during his White House visit, including manufacturing, prison reform, preventing gang crime and reducing violence in Chicago – where the A-lister grew up.
The music mogul also took the president to task over “stop-and-frisk” policing, where large numbers of people are temporarily detained, questioned and sometimes searched for drugs and weapons.
Despite being deemed unconstitutional because of its impact on minorities, Mr Trump has previously said “stop-and-frisk works” and urged Chicago to adopt the strategy.
After West warned “stop-and-frisk does not help relationships in the city”, the president said he would be willing to “look at it”.