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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Kanye West hugs Donald Trump in bizarre White House meeting

The rapper attended lunch at the White House and took part in an extended photo opportunity in the Oval Office.

Kanye West also met with presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner who has spearheaded the administrations efforts overhaul the criminal justice system. Bloomberg
Kanye West also met with presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner who has spearheaded the administrations efforts overhaul the criminal justice system. Bloomberg

Kanye West expressed his continued support for Donald Trump on Thursday during a White House meeting - with a hug.

"I love this guy right here," the serial Grammy winning artist declared in the Oval Office, before taking the president in his arms in front of the press.

The College Dropout rapper had been invited to lunch to discuss prison reform but turned what would ordinarily have been a staid White House photo-op into possibly one of the most unusual encounters in the Oval Office's storied history.

Talking loudly and rapidly on everything from Mr Trump's protectionist trade polices to black gun crime, being married to Kim Kardashian and "infinite amounts of universe," Mr West left the normally loquacious president nearly speechless.

At one moment, Mr West showed Mr Trump a redesign of Air Force One, the Presidential aeroplane, on his smartphone.

"That was quite something," Mr Trump finally said to laughter from astonished senior aides and journalists at the end of the soliloquy, which Mr West punctuated with bangs of his fist on the legendary Resolute desk, used by presidents since the 1880s.

Mr Trump said Mr West "could very well be" future presidential material, to which the rapper said he would not want to get in the way of the Republican's 2020 reelection.

"Only after him in 2024," he said.

Mr West recently took fire for wearing one of the red baseball caps handed out at the president's "Make America Great Again" rallies.

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He not only wore one of the caps into the Oval Office but declared: "There's something about when I put on this hat, I feel like Superman."

Previously, Mr West's reality TV star wife Kim Kardashian has visited the White House to press, successfully, for Trump to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, a woman who was sentenced to life in prison for nonviolent drug crimes.

Trump raised her case again Thursday as an example of why the prison system needs urgent change.

Mr West's "terrific" wife opened his eyes, Trump said.

"We do need reform. That doesn't mean easy. We're going to make certain categories tougher when it comes to drug dealing and other things, but there has to be a reform because it is very unfair right now," he said.

"It is very unfair to African-Americans."