Kanye West’s ongoing public meltdown and antisemitic outbursts have become too extreme even for the famous rapper’s most unapologetic, scandal-prone backers. This now includes the leader of the Republican Party, who used to brag that West was “a friend of mine for a long time.”
In the days since West punctuated his recent tirades by posting to Twitter that he planned to go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE,” former President Donald Trump has told multiple people that West is acting too “crazy” and that he needs some professional “help,” according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
The former president’s comments came before West’s antisemitism hit a new level in an interview released this weekend. On the show Drink Champs, West ranted about “the Jewish people” while he’s impervious to charges of anti-Semitism because he’s also a Jew “as the blood of Christ.” He then said the Jewish people control all facets of media and entertainment and said they have “owned the Black voice” — a trope frequently espoused by neo-Nazis.
Trump has also privately signaled that it’s best if he keeps his mouth shut about West for now — an atypical move for the ex-president who has long relished sharing his unsolicited opinions on celebrity news and A-list tabloid gossip. For instance, Trump was eager to comment on the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial earlier this year. During his time in the White House, Trump asked officials about siccing the Justice Department on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, because the show constantly made fun of him.
Trump’s distance from West is strategic — and not rooted in any objection moral objection, the president made clear implicitly on Sunday. Posting to his struggling social media platform Truth Social, Trump berated American Jewish voters over an alleged lack of gratitude to him. “No President has done more for Israel than I have,” Trump wrote. “Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.”
But even as he lashes out wildly on social media, Trump has thus far kept a calculated distance from the Trump-backing hip-hop artist in the aftermath of the “JEWISH PEOPLE” tweet and also West’s display of “White Lives Matter” attire. It is unclear if there has been any private communication in recent days between West and Trump.
West’s recent public deterioration — which some have argued was triggered by mental-health issues — also included a stop over at one of the country’s most Trump-aligned media outlets. West’s appearance on Tucker Carlson’s primetime show initially led conservatives to offer praise for West’s “independent thinking” from Indiana’s attorney general and House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. “America needs a @kanyewest @KidRock tour,” Eric Schmitt, Missouri’s Republican Senate candidate, wrote in a since-deleted tweet. (However, the unaired footage from that interview, obtained by Vice, makes West look more unhinged.)
For years, West and Trump have courted one another’s favor, beginning around the 2016 presidential election. West has repeatedly played the role of MAGA provocateur with appearances in a MAGA hat on SNL and fawning praise for Trump on Fox News. In turn, Trump has indulged West with public meetings at Trump Tower and the White House and an effort to secure the release of West’s friend, A$AP Rocky, after the rapper was charged with assault in Sweden.
But ever since West’s recent Fox News appearance and subsequent antisemitic tweeting, Trump himself has found the time to publicly muse about the ratings troubles of late-night comedy shows on major networks, share satirical articles about Liz Cheney, and call to “BRING BACK COLUMBUS DAY.” He has not found time to mention West on his social media account, via his political office’s frequent written statements, or on-stage at an Arizona rally since the rapper said he wanted to escalate to “death con 3.” (The actual U.S. military term is “DEFCON.”)
Representatives for Trump and West did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
Within the MAGA and GOP elite, it’s not just former President Trump who now thinks West is losing it. Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor and staunch Trump ally who once counted West as an “acquaintance” in the days of the Trump administration, has since blasted the rapper as a “clown” who is spewing “some bullcrap” these days. Scott adds that he was annoyed at how West, during his Fox News sit-down, “threw Jared [Kushner] under the bus.”
West lashed out at Trump’s son-in-law and former top White House aide during that interview. After criticizing Jared’s brother Josh Kushner’s investment in a Kim Kardashian clothing company, the rapper said of Jared Kushner’s Middle East diplomatic work on Arab-Israeli relations: “I just think it was to make money.”
Scott tells Rolling Stone that just moments after the Carlson interview aired, Scott got on the phone with Kushner’s father-in-law so they could unpack what had transpired. Trump, if anything, sounded bemused by what he had just seen on TV.
“Two minutes after the Tucker segment ended, I called up Trump and asked him, ‘So, what did you think?’” says the pastor.
Trump paused to gather his thoughts, before simply replying: “… Interesting.”
“But then [Trump] said, ‘I will say this — he loves Trump!’ and he and I both laughed. I jokingly told him we’ll see what your poll numbers look like in the morning and we had [another] good laugh over it,” Scott recalls.
The Cleveland-area pastor says he then told the ex-president that West “sure threw Jared under the bus,” to which Trump responded:
“Well, these things happen sometimes.”