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The Schmooze

Why did Jared Kushner meet with third-party challenger Kanye West?

On Tuesday night Kanye West tweeted that he had met with Jared Kushner in Colorado. The rapper, who had been camping with his family, flew to Telluride, where Kushner was vacationing with his family during a global pandemic exacerbated by travel. In a tweet, Kanye said they’d discussed “Powernomics,” a book on Black economic empowerment. Stating his availability to speak with the New York Times, he seemed willing to share more. However, in a follow-up interview he in fact revealed little about the meeting’s purpose: the Times reported that he “expressed anger about abortion rates among Black women and said he didn’t reflexively support Democrats.”

The revelation comes about a month after the rapper, who has long had ties to the Trump White House, announced he was “walking” for president as a third-party candidate. Kanye’s late entrance means he has no chance of garnering 270 votes — he simply won’t be on enough ballots. But his name is on the ballot in several states, and multiple news outlets have reported the involvement of Republican operatives in getting it there, raising suspicion that the Trump campaign is using him to draw votes away from Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

In recent weeks Kanye’s other half, Kim Kardashian West, has spoken out about her husband’s mental health, discussing his diagnosis with bipolar disorder and asking for compassion and understanding from fans.

Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @katz_conn.

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