How soon we forget.
Since Donald J. Trump’s first presidential run in 2016, Chicago has been highly allergic to Trump. One Chicago guy, Kanye West, not so much.
On Thursday night, Chicago embraced West in all his self-obsessed, manically maniacal glory.
The famous-for-being-famous rap artist returned to Chicago, where he was raised, to treat his fans to a 90-minute, live “listening event” at Soldier Field. The late-night extravaganza, dubbed the “Donda Album Experience,” previewed West’s upcoming album, an homage to his late mother.
An estimated 38,000 fans gleefully popped for tickets, costing $150 and up. Of course, there were no COVID-19 vaccine or negative test requirements to attend, according to media reports.
“Kanye West gives fans a remarkable, bonkers experience,” a Chicago Tribune headline blared.
“Kanye West delivers shock and awe,” the Chicago Sun-Times declared.
The ardent coverage was virtually silent on West’s Trump love.
Kanye West is many things. Entertainer, songwriter, producer, fashion designer, brilliant brand maven, controversy magnet.
But one thing that Chicago should never forget — Kanye West is a Donald Trump embracer, apologist and flunky.
West lavished the Trump presidency with unvarnished adoration. Take West’s October 2018 visit to the White House, supposedly to discuss Trump’s alleged interest in workforce training programs, sentencing reform and Black employment.
Instead, West donned a red “Make America Great Again” hat and delivered a ranting homage to the president.
“Trump is on his hero’s journey right now,” West declared in the Oval Office.
West, the New York Times wrote, “praised the president for stopping ‘the war’ with North Korea (there was none), said Mr. Trump ‘solved one of the biggest problems’ on ‘Day 1’ (North Korea again), spoke of being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder (it was sleep deprivation) and said that Mr. Trump had given him a ‘Superman cape’ to be a force for good.”
The grinning entertainer gave Trump plenty of hugs and opportunities to indulge in the president’s favorite sport — condemning Chicago.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, West pretended to turn on Trump. On July 4, he tweeted that he would run for president himself against his bosom friend. West later defended himself from the charge that his late-blooming White House bid was really an attempt to help Trump by siphoning Black votes from Trump’s Democratic opponent.
“I’m not denying it, I just told you,” he said in an interview with Forbes. “To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
West also acknowledged “he’s never voted in his life” and called Trump “special.”
Many observers laughed off West’s foray into presidential politics. It wasn’t funny. If West wasn’t such an ineffectual clown, Trump might still be president.
Now, it seems, all has been forgotten and forgiven in Chicago, this vividly blue city, where the biggest Trump haters reside. In territory where our governor, mayor and countless others spent years excoriating Trump’s bigoted utterances and policies.
Trump never set foot in Chicago during his presidency. He and his Trump International Hotel and Tower milked us for clout-heavy tax breaks and soaked us for free publicity. Public officials yearn to remove the garish, 20-foot-tall letters “Trump” that spoil our view of the Chicago River.
In Chicago, activists routinely march outside the tower in protest of all that racism, misogyny and chaos that Trump represents.
Kanye West played a starring role in Trump world. How could we forget?
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