And the Newest Member of Trump’s Fan Club Is…

So there was Kellyanne Conway making a fool of herself as usual on CNN this morning, smearing James Comey and feigning outrage when Dana Bash brought up the fact that Conway’s husband, attorney George Conway, doesn’t seem to like Trump all that much. Most rational-thinking Americans regard Conway as a joke. What about those who used to think rationally, but who have now joined the Trump cult?

It’s hard to describe this particular development as anything other than sad:

Kanye West voiced his liking of conservative YouTube personality Candace Owens on Saturday, upsetting many of his fans.

Owens — a frequent guest on Fox News and InfoWars — launched a website and YouTube channel in 2017 called Red Pill Black, which promotes black conservatism. She has hailed President Trump as not “just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well,” and has been known to blast Black Lives Matter.

West tweeted Saturday: “I like how Candace Owens thinks.”

Upon seeing West’s endorsement, Owens quickly responded: “I’m freaking out. @kanyewest ….please take a meeting with me. I tell every single person that everything that I have been inspired to do, was written in your music. I am my own biggest fan, because you made it okay. I need you to help wake up the black community.”

West giving his nod of approval to Owens didn’t sit well with many of his 11 million followers.

Yes, West met with Trump in December 2016, during a time when a number of folks naively thought Trump could be reasoned with (remember Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio meeting with Trump in an apparent effort to talk some sense into him on climate). Yes, West also once claimed that he would have voted for Trump, but the remark seemed to be some sort of bizarre publicity stunt at the time.

With his endorsement of a Trump acolyte, it’s clear that West was dead serious about his support for the bigoted billionaire, and will presumably now use his remaining pop-cultural credibility to defend the worst actions of this President. I guess he’s going to start complaining about “Lyin’ Comey,” too.

It’s easy to dismiss West as a clown in the Kardashian tabloid circus, but something deeper, and far more disturbing, seems to be going on here. There was a time when West, in his music and his public statements, was a fervent critic of the social maladies Trump embodies; remember when West called out George W. Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? The Kanye West who had the courage to condemn government racism is dead and gone, replaced by a cheerleader for wingnuts. Remember how disappointing it was when Charlton Heston and Frank Sinatra shifted rightward politically? That same disappointment is being felt now by West’s fans.

It won’t be long before West joins Owens as a regular on Fox, denouncing the Mueller investigation and praising Trump’s “bold and decisive leadership,” embarrassing himself–and those who once admired his talent–in the process. The only question is: which pop-cultural icon will embrace right-wing political and media figures next? A few years from now, will we hear Kendrick Lamar speaking glowingly about tax cuts, too?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.