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Kanye West’s presidential campaign connected to influential GOP figures, report finds

Kanye West’s presidential campaign connected to influential GOP figures, report finds
The rapper’s campaign began after friendly meeting with Donald Trump at the White House

Rapper Kanye West appears to have let his 2020 presidential campaign be partially or completely run by operatives involved in Republican circles, according to a new report.

An investigation, published byThe Daily Beast on Friday, discovered that Mr West’s presidential bid was partially or near-completely run by Jill Vogel, a member of the Virginia State Senate and the Republican party.

Ms Vogel, was an unofficial adviser to Mr West’s campaign from as early as July 2020 and was described by one figure familiar with her work as “basically behind it all”, according to The Daily Beast.

The Republican was previously chief counsel to the Republican National Committee (RNC), and also connected to Trump loyalists in the Republican party. In 2017, she hired a top Virginia operative from the Trump 2016 campaign, Mike Rubino, in her unsuccessful bid to be the state’s lieutenant governor.

The West campaign had other connections to the Republican party, even as the rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye in October, styled himself as an Independent. Several law firms that regularly work with the RNC and prominent GOP figures including former President Donald Trump in 2020 were paid by Kanye’s campaign during the 2020 election, such as BakerHostetler and Mohrman Kaardal, The Daily Beast reported.

“It’s pretty clear Kanye was a GOP plant, whether he knew it or not,” a representative for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) told The Daily Beast.

The Independent hasreached out to Ms Vogel for comment on her involvement in the West campaign.

Ms Vogel’s involvement, as well as the law firm connections, suggest that Republicans viewed Mr West’s campaign as an opportunity to hurt Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s chances in the presidential race.

That possibility never bore out as Mr West took a statistically insignificant number of votes. Mr Biden would go on to defeat President Trump in a number of battleground states including surprise wins in Georgia and Arizona.

Mr West famously met with Mr Trump at the White House for a bizarre conversation in 2018 in which he trashed Hillary Clinton’s “I’m With Her” slogan as uninspiring to male voters and claimed that wearing the president’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats gave him “power”.

“You know, they tried to scare me to not wear this hat – my own friends. But this hat, it gives me – it gives me power, in a way,” Mr West said at the time.

“It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman. You made a Superman. That was my – that’s my favorite superhero. And you made a Superman cape.”

The Yeezus rapper is currently in the process of splitting from his wife, reality star Kim Kardashian, after she filed for divorce earlier this year.

Mr West has remained publicly enamored with his wife and expressed a desire to reunite his family.

He posted a Thanksgiving “prayer” video, backed up by a choir, in which he expressed regret about his presidential run, and for sharing a story about Ms Kardashian considering an abortion during a political rally.

“I ran for president without proper preparation and no allies on either side. I embarrassed my wife in the way that I presented information about our family,” he said in the video.