Kanye West’s highly public endorsement of President Donald Trump has sparked considerable debate, with many perplexed by the rapper’s unyielding support for the polarizing leader — most recently demonstrated during a surreal Oval Office sit-down Thursday.
Despite the controversy, comedian Dave Chappelle is standing behind West, insisting that he “loves” the hip-hop star regardless of his political leanings.
“Kanye’s an artist, and he’s a genius,” Chappelle said during a recent interview on CNN’s The Van Jones Show (which was taped before West’s White House visit). “I think the angle he’s seeing things from is about the division. And he’s not inconsistent with what he’s saying. For instance, a decade ago he was saying he wanted to take the Confederate flag and re-appropriate it.”
He continued, “I’m not mad at Kanye West, that’s my brother. I love him, I support him, I buy his albums. I don’t have to agree with everything that he says, I just trust him as a person of intent.”
But the comedian acknowledged that the “Stronger” performer could do with a bit more restraint, adding, “But yeah, he shouldn’t say all that s—.”
Chappelle’s declaration of support was met with an uncomfortable silence from the audience that had gathered for the taping of the segment.
Chappelle, who can currently be seen in a small but key role in A Star is Born, also shared his experience of living in rural southern Ohio, which is heavily populated by Trump supporters.
“In the name of safety, I don’t tell them anything about that guy,” he explained. “I don’t think I can change anybody’s mind.”
When it comes to his own shocking statements, Chappelle, 45, expressed remorse for comments he made while appearing on Saturday Night Live following Trump’s presidential win — a time when many were expecting some form of comedic reprieve from the entertainer.
“I said we should give Trump a chance because he’s the president of the United States,” he recalled. “I shouldn’t have said that s—.”
Chappelle’s appearance on the show was part of his endorsement for longtime friend and Governor of Maryland candidate Ben Jealous.