Though perhaps overshadowed by the Nicki Minaj-Miley Cyrus feud, Kanye West tried to become the take-home story of Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards by announcing that he will seek the nation's highest office. But no, he's not planning to take on Donald Trump. The rapper is planning to wait until the next campaign.
West culminated a long and rambling award acceptance speech by saying, “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.” The declaration was nothing like the hemming and hawing that usually precedes politicians' presidential campaign announcements, sometimes for months, so they can test the waters and raise money without having to officially become candidates. (Earlier in the speech, West mentioned that, just prior, he had “rolled up a little something to knock the edge off.”)
The news did get an official, albeit tongue-in-cheek, reaction from the White House. Presidential press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on President Barack Obama's trip to Alaska, “I look forward to seeing what slogan he chooses to embroider on his campaign hat.”
So, when can we expect West's formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission—documents eagerly anticipated when another celebrity, billionaire Donald Trump, joined the race in June?
Campaign-finance law says West would have to declare after raising or spending more than $5,000, according to FEC spokesman Christian Hilland. “Within 15 days of having crossed that threshold, the individual would have to register with the FEC as a candidate,” Hilland said in a matter-of-fact phone interview on Monday.
West's personal financial disclosure, a filing that would offer a glimpse of his own wealth, would be due 30 days after that, though two 45-day extensions are typically granted.
In the meantime, a political action committee called Ready for Kanye has submitted its statement of organization to the commission.
Serious candidate or not, West has ramped up his political profile in recent years.
While he didn't mention which party's nomination he plans to seek, he seems to tilt towards the Democrats. After donating $1,000 to President Barack Obama in 2012, West donated $15,000 to the Democratic National Committee in October, just ahead of the midterm elections, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. (Despite his largesse, Obama has twice called the rapper a 'jackass' and discouraged West's efforts to portray them as good buds.)
Earlier this month, West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, attended a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—who would be up for re-election in 2020 if she wins next fall.