Kanye West has announced he will run for US president in the upcoming November election, as support for incumbent Donald Trump continues to decline over his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
West took to Twitter on Independence Day yesterday to announce he will take on Trump, of whom he is a huge supporter, and Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,” West wrote. “I am running for president of the United States.”
West’s announcement comes with just four months left before polling day on 3 November.
It is not yet clear if the 21-time Grammy award winner has filed any official paperwork to run as a candidate. He has not yet registered his name with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for November’s election.
However, the deadline to run as an independent candidate has not yet passed in many US states. West has not declared whether he will be affiliated with any particular political party.
The rapper immediately garnered endorsement from Tesla founder Elon Musk, who tweeted: “You have my full support!”
West has in the past repeatedly declared his support for Trump and the Republican party. West and wife Kim Kardashian West have visited Trump in the White House several times to discuss prison reform, and the rapper is often seen touting Trump’s famous “Make America Great Again” cap.
At one White House meeting in 2018, the musician claimed Trump made him feel like Superman, hugged him and said: “I love this guy right here”.
Asked if West could one day be a presidential candidate, Trump said: “Could very well be.”
In January last year, West tweeted “2024”, in what was widely seen as a sign that he would run for the White House that year. However, the rapper seems to have fast-forwarded plans as the electoral outlook becomes increasingly uncertain.
Betfair spokesperson Darren Hughes said: ‘‘His wife may be best known for ‘breaking the internet’, but Kanye West himself shocked the world” last night.
‘‘One man unlikely to be happy with this news is Joe Biden, who has seen his chances go from 8/11 to 4/5 overnight on the back of West’s announcement.
“President Trump, however, has seen his odds contract significantly… with punters perhaps feeling his past friendship with West will be in his favour.”
It comes as support for Trump has crashed to an all-time low over the past few months as the US continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic and widespread civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd.
A Monmouth University poll released today showed that former vice president Biden is ahead in the race with a 53 per cent to 41 per cent lead over Trump.
Polls taken around Independence Day in an election year usually correlate strongly with the November results in incumbent contests.
Particularly alarming for Trump is the slip in support among strong red states.
In Florida, which reported a record 11,458 new coronavirus infections on Saturday alone, Trump’s support has waned dramatically in the past few weeks, after winning 49 per cent of the vote in the 2016 election. According to the Real Clear Politics average, Biden now leads Trump by 6.4 points.
The US has now had almost 2.9m confirmed cases of the virus, and more than 132,000 fatalities, making it the worst-affected country in the world.