Rapper Kanye West and retired football player Jim Brown met with President Donald Trump in the oval office on Thursday to discuss a variety of issues ranging from criminal justice reform to North Korea to Yeezys.
Below is a transcript of their pre-lunch meeting:
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Jim Brown, greatest of all time. And what people don’t know - Kanye everybody knows. Right? Every…Does the world know Kanye? What people, Kanye…what people don’t know about Jim? They say, first of all, that he is the best football player. But they say we was an even better lacrosse player. Do you think so? Huh?
JIM BROWN: I never thought about it.
TRUMP: I’ve heard he was even at Syracuse. Well, it’s great to have you, Jim. Great to have you. Kanye, it’s great to be with you. These are two friends of mines and Kanye’s been a friend of mine for a long time. And Jim, Jim came out of nowhere and he said I like what the president’s doing. Long time ago. We met, right? And I just appreciate it very much. You know, if you look at the employment numbers - if you look at the median income, if you look at every single indicator, we’re keeping our promise Jim. Thank you. And I want to thank you.
BROWN: And I like North Korea.
TRUMP: I like North Korea too. Yeah, yeah. Well he’s…turned out to be good. Dialogue. We had a little dialogue.
BROWN: Oh yeah.
TRUMP: And the Secretary of State just came back, Mike, just came back from North Korea. We had very good meetings and we’ll meet again but we’re doing good. No more nuclear testing. No more missiles going up. No more nothing. That was headed to war. That was headed to war.
BROWN: Yeah, I mean, to me it seemed…(INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: Yep, it was so close. I spoke to President Obama. I will tell you that was headed to war. And now it’s going to be, I believe it’s going to work out very well.
TRUMP: We stopped the war. We saved millions of lives. You know, Seoul has 30 million people. You don’t realize how big. Thirty million people right near the border - 30 miles off the border. Millions of people would’ve been killed, and I will say Chairman Kim has been really good. Really good. And we’ve made a lot of progress. It’s nice that you say that because that’s a big thing. These folks were covering North Korea, not very promisingly and there were a lot of problems. President Obama said that was his biggest problem and I don’t see anything solved.
KANYE WEST: Solved one of his biggest problems. We solved one of the bigger problems.
TRUMP: It was a big, big solving and not solved yet, but I think we’re on the way. No, no. we’re well on our way. In a short period of time, Jim. Very short period of time. You know, when I left Singapore 3 months ago and we made a lot of progress. So, it’s very good. Hey, look. That’s one of many things. But I appreciate everything with you. I tell you what. Kim was in. Ms. Johnson, we got her out. She was very unfairly treated and there are many other people like that.
WEST: We have Larry Hoover’s lawyer with us today and it’s a prisoner that focused on - he has 6 life sentences and they have him next to the Unabomber doing (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: What did he do, Larry? What happened? What did he do?
LARRY HOOVER’S LAWYER: Why is he in?
TRUMP: Yes, tell me. Tell us.
HOOVER’S LAWYER: Allegedly it’s for conspiracy from prison. From state prison. It’s alleged. But, we do believe even if he did commit those crimes, the sentence was overly broad…
TRUMP: What was the sentence?
HOOVER’S LAWYER: Six consecutive life sentences in the most secure prison in the world also known as Clean Version of Hell for basically…
WEST: What prison is that? Name the prison
HOOVER’S LAWYER: It is Supermax in Florence, Colorado.
HOOVER’S LAWYER: They house Unabomber, Al Qaeda operatives (INAUDIBLE). Things of that nature.
TRUMP: How old is he? How old?
HOOVER’S LAWYER: 68
TRUMP: He’s 68 years old?
HOOVER’S LAWYER: He’s 68 years old.
WEST: Really, the reason why they imprisoned him, is because he started doing positive for the community. He started showing that he actually had power. That he wasn’t just one of a monolithic voice, that he could wrap people around.
So, there’s theories that – there’s infinite amounts of universe and there’s alternate universe so it’s very important for me to get Hoover out because in an alternate universe, I am him and I have to go and get him free. Because he was doing positive inside Chicago just like I’m moving back to Chicago and it’s not just about, you know, getting on stage and being an entertainer and having a monolithic voice that’s forced to be a specific party, you know, people expect that if you’re black, you have to be Democrat.
I have a – I have conversations that basically said that welfare is the reason why a lot of black people end up being democrat. They say, you know, first of all, it’s a limited amount of jobs. So, the fathers lose the jobs and they say we’ll give you more money for having more kids in your home and then we got rid of mental health institutions in the ’80s and ‘90s and the prison rates just shot up. And now you have Chiraq, what people call “chi-raq.”.
Actually, our murder rate is going down by 20%. just talked to the superintendent. Met with Michael (INAUDIBLE), that’s (INAUDIBLE) right-hand man.
WEST: So, I think it’s the bravery that helps you beat this game called life.
You know they try to scare me to not wear this hat, my own friends. But this hat, it gives me, it gives me power in a way. You know, my dad and my mom separated so I didn’t have a lot of male energy in my home and also
WEST: And also, I’m married to a family that, you know – not a lot of male energy going on. It’s beautiful though.
But there’s times where, you know, it’s something about, you know, I love Hillary. I love everyone, right? But the campaign “I’m with her” just didn’t make me feel as a guy, that didn’t get to see my dad all the time, like a guy that could play catch with his son.
It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like superman. You made a superman. That’s my favorite super hero. And you made a superman cape for me.
Also, as a guy who looks up to you, looks up to Ralph Lauren, who looks up to American industry guys, not political, no bulls—, put the bleep on it, however you want to do it, five seconds delay, and just goes in and gets it done.
Right now, you gave me the heart to go to Adidas. Because at Adidas, when I went in in 2015, we were a $14 billion company losing $2 billion a year.
Now, we have a $38 billion market cap. It’s called the yeezy effect. And I went to Casper. We had a meeting in Chicago. And I said you have to bring manufacturing on shore. Not even on shore, into the core. It’s not about the borders. The core of Adidas, and Chicago is the core of middle America. We have to make middle America strong.
So, I have the balls. I have the balls to put on this hat.
I mean, this Adidas thing made me a billionaire. And I could have lost $200 million walking away from that deal. But even with that, I knew it was more important for me to take the chance of walking away from that deal than to have no fathers in Chicago with no homes and when we do have prison reformation - because it’s habilitation now it’s not rehabilitation. Because we didn’t have the abilities in the first place. We didn’t have anyone who taught us, to teach us. We had no one who taught us, right?
So it’s more important than any specific deal, anything that we bring jobs into America. And that we provide a transition with mental health and the American education curriculum that (INAUDIBLE) worked on. That Larry Hoover also has a curriculum that he worked on. We have Montessori curriculum. “Wework” has a beautiful curriculum. The Waldorf establishment has a curriculum. We have meditation.
There’s a lot of things affecting our mental health that make us do crazy things that put us back into that trap door called, the 13th amendment. I did say abolish with the hat on. Because why would you keep something around that’s a trap door? If you’re building a floor, the constitution is the base of our industry, right, of our country, of our company.
Would you build a trap door that if you mess up and you accidentally something happens, you fall and you end up next to the unabomber?
You end up – you got to remove the trap door out of the relationship.
The four gentleman that broke the 13th amendment. And I think the universe works, it’s perfect. We don’t have 13 floors, do we?
So the four gentlemen that wrote the 13th amendment didn’t look like the people they were amending.
Also at that point, it was illegal for blacks to read or African Americans to read. And so that meant if you actually read the amendment, you get locked up! And turned into a slave again.
So, what I think is we don’t need sentences, we need partners. We need to talk to people.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was connected with a neuro-psychologist that works with the athletes in the NBA and the NFL. And he looked at my brain. It’s equal in three parts. – I’m going to go ahead, drop some bombs on you. 98 percentile IQ test. I had a 75 percentile of all human beings. Whether it was counting eight numbers backwards off – I’m going to work on that one. The other one, 98%. Tesla, Ford, you know.
So, he said that I actually wasn’t bipolar. I had sleep deprivation which can cause dementia 10 to 20 years from now, I wouldn’t even remember my son’s name. So, all this power I got and I’m taking my son to the Sox game and all that. I wouldn’t be able to remember his name from a misdiagnosis. What we need is, we can empower the pharmaceuticals and make more money. That’s one thing. I’ve never stepped into a situation where I didn’t make people more money. So we can empower pharmaceuticals.
We can empower our industries. We can empower our factories. We can bring not only Adidas on shore. Foxconn set up a factory think in Minnesota
TRUMP: Wisconsin, yeah, Wisconsin.
WEST: Yeah, Wisconsin. They have 4,000 jobs. People making $53,000 a year. And one of the things we got to set is Ford to have the highest design. The dopest cars. The most amazing. I don’t really say dope. I don’t say negative words. We try to flip them. We just say positive lovely divine universal words.
WEST: So, the flyest, freshest, most amazing car, and what we want to start with is, I brought a gif with me right here. This right here is the iPlane One, it’s a hydrogen powered airplane, and this is what our president should be flying in. Look at this, Jared.
TRUMP: We’d get rid of Air Force One. Can we get rid of Air Force One? No, you don’t like that?
WEST: Well, we’re gonna have Apple, an American company, work on this plane. But, you know what I don’t like about, it’s not that I don’t like, what I need Saturday Night Live to improve on, or what I need the liberals to improve on is, if he don’t look good, we don’t look good. This is our president.
TRUMP: It’s true.
WEST: He has to be the freshest, the flyest, the flyest planes, the best factories, and we have to make our core be in power, we have to bring jobs into America, because our best export is entertainment and ideas, but when we make everything in China and not in America, then we’re cheating on our country. And we’re putting people in positions to have to do illegal things to end up in the cheapest factory ever, the prison system.
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what that was pretty impressive, folks. (LAUGHTER) You know, I hate to say this Jim, do you want to say something too? What do you do after that? You’re a– Please, Jim, please.
BROWN: If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.
TRUMP: Right. Great, right?
BROWN: That’s right.
TRUMP: Isn’t that a great statement?
BROWN: Yes it is.
TRUMP: And it’s so true, as a country, it’s so true. Very– I’ve never seen Jim Brown impressed before. He was impressed. That’s true, that statement is amazing, huh?
BROWN: Yeah, yeah. It makes a lot of sense.
TRUMP: Well, I want to tell you, it’s great to have you guys here. We’re going to go in, we’re going to have some lunch. That was quite something, that was quite something.
WEST: It was from the soul. I just channeled it.
TRUMP: Yeah, that’s really very interesting.
(TO PRESS) Sure, please.
REPORTER: So, you had said of President Bush that he doesn’t care about black people. And you’ve heard some people say that about this president. How do you respond to that, what do you make of that?
WEST: I think we need to care about all people. And I believe that when I went on to NBC, I was very emotional, and I was programmed to think from a victimized mentality of a welfare mentality.
I think with blacks and African Americans, we really get caught up in the idea of racism over the idea of industry. You see if people don’t have land, they settle for brands. We want a Polo-sporting Obama again. We want a brand, more than we want land, because we haven’t known how it feels to actually have our own land and have ownership of our own blocks.
When we don’t have ownership, then it’s all about how something looks, it’s about the patina, it’s not about the soul, it’s not about the core. So we focus more on, ‘Is somebody wearing something, did someone disrespect me so I got to, I got to shoot them?’ Or the idea of someone being racist, you know, we talk about police murders, which we definitely have to discuss, and we have to bring nobility to the police officers and make them because police officers are just like us.
But there’s this whole hate building, right, and that’s a major thing about racial tension. But we also as black people have to take a responsibility for what we’re doing. We killed each other more than police officers. And that’s not saying that a police officer is not an issue because they are in a place, a position of power. But sometimes their in a place of law enforcement, they need to be law power. It’s force versus power. You shouldn’t have to force people to do that.
So, a lot of times a police officer is sitting there, they’re being forced to do this, forced to do that block, and then they force somebody into something, and force into something. We have to release the love throughout the entire country and give opportunities.
A lot of times, it’s just the overall lack of reparations that we at any given point, we say, “Oh this is racist, this is racist, this is racist, this is racist.” So we don’t have the reparations but we have the thirteenth amendment. We got to open up the whole conversation.
So, and that’s a move, one of the moves that I love that liberals try to do. A liberal will try to control a black person through the concept of racism because they know that we are very proud, emotional people. So, when I said I liked Trump, to like someone that’s liberal, they’ll say, “Oh, but he’s racist.” You think racism can control me? Oh, that don’t stop me. That’s an invisible wall.
WEST: Your question - you, you have one question that opens to another question. I answered your question. I don’t answer questions that simple sound - soundbites. You – you are tasting a fine wine. It has multiple notes to it. You better play 4-D chess with me like it’s Minority Report, cause it ain’t that simple. It’s complex.
REPORTER: Mr. West, why would you let – Chicago Sun Times, so I would like to know what you would like to ask President Trump to do for Chicago. You’re here to talk about crime in Chicago.
WEST: The thing that – that – that the head of the police and Mike Sachs met with me last night at the Soho house about what we we feel that stop and frisk does not help the relationships in the city, and everyone that knew I was coming here said ask about stop and frisk.
That’s – that’s – that’s the number one thing that we’re having this conversation about. Another thing is opening up industries, and we’ve got to get some tax breaks too, because – you know we’re making – we got a Speed factory in Atlanta, but the shoes are costing us $300 so it’s costing us too – too much to make things.
So, we need some prototypes here so we can get people back working so China can’t just beat us and Vietnam can’t beat us. You’ve got Levi’s, the greatest jeans company in the world, making their jeans in – in Vietnam.
So, we’re going to need a few breaks to be able to have some places in my hometown of Chicago, and the 2.7 million to the nine million surrounding the suburbs where we can create some factories. I think it’d be cool for them to be Trump factories because he’s a master of industry, he’s a builder.
And I think it’d be cool to have Yeezy ideation centers, which would be a mix of education that empowers people and gives them modern information like – sometimes people say this kid has ADD, this kid has ADD. He don’t have ADD, school is boring, it was boring, it’s not as exciting as this. We have to make it more exciting. We have to mix curriculum, to play basketball while you’re doing math.
You – you – you learn about music while you meditate in the morning. We have to instate mental health and art programs back into the – back to the cities. So those are – and also, Larry Hoover is an example of a man that was turning his life around, and as soon as he tried to turn his life around, they hit him with six life sentences.
So I believe he’s what – you say don’t tear down the statues? Larry Hoover is a living statue. He’s a beacon for us, that needs to see his family, that needs to go out and represent. When you have a block leader on every single block, they can own the block. That’s something I learned from Jim Brown, from Amer-I-Can . We need to put curriculums for people who really came from the streets, not people who are just trying to set us up to go into a work system or prison system that applies to what people are really going through, which Jim Brown has created.
REPORTER: What about gun violence? With all of the debate about the Second Amendment going on.
WEST: The problem is illegal guns. Illegal guns are the problem, not – not – not legal guns. We have the right to bear arms.
REPORTER: President Trump has said that he favors stop and frisk. Are you guys going to be discussing that, do you think you can change his mind?
WEST: Yes, we’re – we’re going to – we’re going to discuss it. I didn’t mean to put you on blast like that bro, but …
TRUMP: I’m open-minded, I’m here. I am open-minded.
REPORTER: Mr. President, would you like him to speak at one of your rallies?
TRUMP: He can speak for me anytime he wants. He’s been a great guy, he’s a smart cookie, smart. He gets it. These two guys – Jim Brown, he’s been doing this for a long time.
REPORTER: Is he a future presidential candidate?
TRUMP: Could very well be.
WEST: Only after …
TRUMP: Could very well be. That’s good, I’m glad to hear that.
WEST: We – we – we have a good – and the thing is, let’s stop worrying about the future. All we really have is today. We just have today. Over and over and over again, the eternal returns, the hero’s journey and Trump is on his hero’s journey, right now.
And, he might not have expected to have a crazy motherf—– like Kanye West, run up and support, but best believe we are going to make America great.
Now the thing is, my – another thing is – black people have an issue with the word again, and I believe – my feeling from that is because I’m going to throw – I’m going to go all the way signaling, because time is a myth. All we have is now, all we have is today. So the word again – it doesn’t hurt us because of the idea of racism and slavery. It – it – it hurts us because we need to focus on who we are now, today. I – I believe.
So, I actually brought some hats in that have a bit of a transition. I’m not trying to put you – I just want you to follow it. I made a hat that says make America great, just that.
But I would love to see at the Super Bowl, Trump wearing the make America great hat, Colin (KAEPERNICK) wearing the – wearing the make America great and showing that we can bend a bit on this side, we can bend a bit on this side and we can learn how to be malleable in the infinite universe that we are, and the loving beings that we are. That we don’t have to stick to all traditions and – we are a side, we are one unit, we are one country, we are one moment in history in time. We might’ve been here before, but right now we are together. And the greatest value that people have are other people. And we need to stop working on random who – it’s like a gang again.
TRUMP: Let me ask you this question. You’re in the Oval Office, how does it feel to be in the Oval Office?
WEST: Oh, it is good energy in this.
TRUMP: Is it good energy? Yeah?
WEST: It’s good.
TRUMP: It’s a great place. Jim, how do you feel?
BROWN: I feel good, yeah.
BROWN: I really feel good.
TRUMP: You are so respected, and what Kanye’s doing has been incredible. All over the world they’re talking about this, and I have to tell you, I had important meetings today with Senators and with everything, nobody cared. They wanted this meeting, this is the meeting, is that right? I can say that to John. No, the others were good, right? But this is what they want.
BROWN: … not only you would be there.
TRUMP: Well, it’s my honor Jim, I want to tell you. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, long time. Nobody like you, nobody like you. No athlete like you.
BROWN: You know why I’m here? I’m here to serve.
TRUMP: Yeah. It’s really nice, man..
TRUMP: Wow. And you know, that’s always been the way Jim has been for a long time, and he just wanted to help. And it’s – it’s something special. Jennifer, did you have a question?
REPORTER: I guess just (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: Well, we’re going to look at it. I’m – I’m open to everything. Hey look, I think it’s a shame what’s happening in Chicago.
REPORTER: - What else have you done …
TRUMP: I’m in Chicago a lot, too. I have nice things in Chicago, you know that, right? And I hate to see what’s happening. They’re having numbers – the numbers of people being shot and killed, and it’s – it’s not – it’s not for this country. So, they have to do something, and I am totally open – if we can do it a different way Kanye, I’m totally open. But they have to do – I mean we all agree they have to do something, that’s for sure.
REPORTER: Mr. President, is it a law enforcement issue, a legislation …
TRUMP: Well, maybe it’s a combination of both. Yeah, I guess it is, but I think it’s probably a combination of both and it’s also a respect issue. They respect this guy, they respect this guy. That’s a big thing. Right now, they’re not respecting – let’s say youth Mayor or let’s say youth leadership in Chicago, but certainly it shouldn’t be happening, what’s going on there should not be happening.
Steve? Go ahead.
REPORTER: What do you want this meeting to lead to in terms of prison …
TRUMP: Honestly, from our standpoint, this was just set up to be a lunch of two people that I like, and I guess they like me. And we’re going to have lunch, we’re going to talk.
WEST: You said – you said I guess you know I love you.
TRUMP: I know you do. I don’t want to take – I don’t want to put you in that spot.
WEST: No I – I’m standing in that spot, I love this guy right here. Let me give this guy a hug right here. I love this guy right here.
TRUMP: That’s really nice, and that’s from the heart. I didn’t want to put you in that position. But that’s from the heart. Special guy. These two are special people. Whether you like it, whether you don’t like it, they’re special people. And I appreciate it – Jim, Kanye, I appreciate it.
So, let’s go have some lunch, OK? Thank you all very much, that was really great.