Kanye West held his first presidential rally Sunday evening, days after filing an FEC Form 2 Statement of Candidacy under his recently announced Birthday Party. “I don’t give a fuck if I win the presidency or not,” he said at the event, stressing that his aim is to be “of service to God” (via Billboard).
West also tweeted — then deleted — a message Saturday announcing that a new album called Donda will arrive on July 24th. The album — should it come out Friday — is named after West’s mother, who died in 2007 due to complications from plastic surgery. The tracklist included with the tweet featured “Wash Us in the Blood” (featuring Travis Scott), which dropped at the end of June. A representative for West did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
Wearing a bullet-proof vest and sporting “2020” shaved into his hair, West spoke at the rally Sunday without a microphone to a crowd observing little to no social distancing despite the escalating pandemic.
Last week, West qualified for the General Election ballot in Oklahoma, according to a tweet from Oklahoma State Election Board. The subsequent FEC Form 2 filing occurs, per an FEC rep, “once an individual has raised or spent more than $5,000 in campaign activity, triggering candidacy status under federal campaign finance law.” However, he has missed the deadline in several states for further filings.
At the rally — which took place in Charleston, South Carolina, at 5 p.m. ET — West covered a range of topics: abortion (he’s anti, but believes in giving women proper financial assistance as an alternative), addiction (he derided the availability of prescription painkillers), gun control (he’s anti; “Shooting guns are fun,” he said) and the black vote (“The most racist thing that’s ever been said out loud is the idea that if Kanye West runs for president, that I’m gonna split the black votes”).
“My mom saved my life,” West said while discussing the issue of abortion. “My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would’ve been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy … I almost killed my daughter.”
West also spoke negatively about abolitionist icon Harriet Tubman: “[She] never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people,” he said of the Underground Railroad conductor to audible audience groans.
Earlier this month, West withdrew his long-running support for President Donald Trump and expressed his intention to run for office. “[I’m] taking the red hat off,” he said in a lengthy interview with Forbes. “It looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker,” he said, referring to reports that Trump hid in a White House safe room during recent anti-police brutality protests in Washington, D.C.