Kanye West Reveals What Oprah Winfrey Said to Him After He Announced His Plans to Run for President

Kanye West is finally chasing his presidential dreams, but his aspirations have been met with mixed reactions. While some people encouraged his 2020 run for the White House, others argued that he should focus on stronger suits such as music and fashion. He even earned the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who allegedly discouraged him from running for president.

Kanye West at a performance
Kanye West at a performance in June 2016 in Anaheim, California | Leon Bennett/WireImage

Kanye West wants to be president of the United States

West first announced his plans to run for president in 2015 at the MTV Video Music Awards. While accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, he closed his speech by saying, “And yes, as you probably could’ve guessed in this moment, I’ve decided in 2020 to run for president.”

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Sometime after his announcement, he apparently ran into Winfrey, who allegedly tried to talk him out of running for president. Recounting the experience on The Joe Rogan Experience in an interview published on Oct. 24, West said:

I remember running into Oprah two days or one day after that, and she’s like you don’t want to be president. One of the things Oprah said is she said, ‘You got to bone up on your foreign affairs.’ I remember this, because it’s Oprah talking, so I’m gonna remember a lot of what the conversation was, but that’s the first thing she said was foreign affairs and foreign policies.

Kanye West later backed out of his plans then joined the ballot at the last minute

Three years after his announcement, West said he had decided to push back his run until 2024. “If I decide to do it, it will be done, I’m not going to try,” he told Power 92 Chicago’s DJ Pharris in August 2018, adding: “Yes, 100 percent it could happen… 2024.”

It seemed at that moment that he had decided to support President Donald Trump in 2020 instead, given that he’d endorsed him on Twitter earlier that year. However, he changed course again in 2020, announcing on July 4 that he had decided to join that year’s race between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

West is running as an independent candidate, but he joined the race so late that he has failed to get on ballots in key states. BuzzFeed News reports that because he’s only on ballots in 11 states “there is no plausible reality in which Kanye West becomes the next president.” But West has continued his campaign anyway, urging voters to write in his name when possible.

Kanye West
Kanye West at an event in 2016 | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America

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If Kanye West loses the 2020 election, he’ll run in the next one

Even if he doesn’t get Winfrey’s support or the votes needed to secure the White House, he told Joe Rogan in the aforementioned interview that he’s going to try again. “I’m definitely 100% winning in 2024,” he continued.

We’ll see what happens then. In the meantime, fans can expect the 2020 election results to start pouring in on Tuesday, Nov. 3.