Kanye West took the stage for his first presidential campaign rally, where he went from being in good spirits to wiping tears from his eyes as he explained why he’s against abortion.
The rally, held in Charleston, South Carolina, began just after 5 p.m. ET. Sunday evening (July 19). Locals live streamed the event, where attendees were mostly compliant with wearing masks but did not show much social distancing as they gathered closely to the stage and reacted to West’s discussion.
West, with “2020” shaved on the back of his head, made his entrance just after The O’Jays’ “Stairway to Heaven” played throughout the venue. He spoke loudly over the crowd, without a microphone. He instructed staff to “close the doors but keep them unlocked” to buffer outside noise.
“Moving forward we will be in rooms where the acoustics are absolutely incredible, because I will be involved next time,” West promised before launching into a jumbled myriad of topics, including religion, addiction, guns and his very personal experience with the idea of abortion.
“If you guys gonna whisper, go outside and talk,” West — who first announced his 2020 presidential run on July 4 — instructed, telling the crowd to raise their hands quietly if they wanted the opportunity to chime in. “We need absolute silence and absolute order.”
In his most candid moment, on the subject of abortion, West cried as he revealed: “My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would’ve been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy.”
“I almost killed my daughter,” said West as he sobbed.
“In the Bible it says, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ I remember my girlfriend [now wife, Kim Kardashian] called me screaming and crying … she said, ‘I’m pregnant’ … She said she was a pregnant and for one month, and two months, and three months we talked about her not having this child. She had the pills in her hand.”
He set the scene, describing that he was “in the [Paris] apartment where my wife was actually robbed” when “the screen went black and white and God said, ‘If you f— with my vision, I’m gonna f— with yours. And I called my wife, and she said, ‘We’re gonna have this baby.’ I said, ‘We’re gonna have this child.'”
“Even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech,” West said, “she brought North into the world.”
On giving financial assistance to women who are pregnant
West than proposed that there should be “no more Plan B,” the emergency contraceptive pill, but instead a “Plan A.” He proposed $50,000 per year to help women take care of a child, but added, “It takes a village, no matter how much money you have. Society has been set up for single mothers to never have a village.”
West claimed to “understand the situation” of a young woman who came to the stage to share that she’d decided to have an abortion because she worked a minimum wage job, but declared that “Jesus loves all people … and God wants us to create.”
“You have never met someone who said, ‘I had this child and it was the worst thing,'” he said.
Later on in the event, he clarified that he does not expect to make abortion illegal, but wants to present “an option” to women — and he upped the financial assistance proposal.
“The option of maximum increase should be available,” West explained. “Maximum increase would be everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars, or something.”
Where would that funding come from? West suggested that Israel and Africa would fund the concept. “I do not have the funding for it, but I have the platform to present the idea.”
On addiction and the modern healthcare system
During his rally, West invited attendees up the stage with him to pose questions. Following a comment about healthcare, West delved into his own story of the affect of being prescribed painkillers.
“I stubbed my toe two years ago,” West recalled. “I went to the doctor because I gotta Ye everything up … When I got there, five doctors asked me if I wanted pain medication. At the end of the year they give out awards to the people who have given out the most medication.”
“After getting plastic surgery,” he then added, “that was a slippery slope to getting addicted to Percocets,” which he called “a cousin and sister to heroin.”
“I was addicted to a smaller form of heroin. I would live in this McMansion, in this gated community … and I would drive to Calabasas, high as a motherf—er.”
“We are trapped in a loop. We are going to break that trap,” West said.
On ‘splitting the Black vote’
West obtusely addressed commentary that came following his decision to run for president just months before the 2020 election.
“The most racist thing that’s ever been said out loud is the idea that if Kanye West runs for president, that I’m gonna split the Black votes,” he said.
West continued: “I’m not trying to quiet your voices, actually, I just haven’t had the time to word it in the most elegant way possible.”
He went on to say that “Harriet Tubman actually never freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people. The National Basketball Association is not owned by any Blacks. Universal Music is not owned by any Blacks.”
“The real power,” he noted, “you don’t see the real power. You don’t know who’s putting the internet in your school just to track you. You don’t know who’s targeting you … you don’t know who’s the head of the boards. I am not on the board at Adidas. I am not on the board at Gap. And that has to change today, or I walk away.”
“We are all equal in God’s eyes. Sometimes people are controlled by demons, controlled by the environment we are in, but we are all God’s people. There are no bad people,” said West.
“When God calls Moses, he has to leave his comfy job working for the Egyptians and free the people,” he said.
“It has nothing to do with black, white, rich, poor, red, blue, Native American, pilgrim. It has to do with being truthful to what God has,” West said.
On supporting the LGBTQ+ community
When one person asked, “If you feel so strongly about the Bible, how do you feel about homosexuality?” West took a beat to answer, distracted by hecklers in the audience. (Eventually, he had one crowd member thrown out of the room.)
“Jesus loves everyone. He does not discriminate against anyone,” West said.
On gun control
When asked about his stance on gun violence in the U.S., West described how he lives “on a 4,000-acre ranch [in Wyoming] and I can shoot AR-15s all day without going to jail.”
“Shooting guns are fun … The thing is if you guys put down all your weapons … When other countries come in and you have no weapons, what do you think is going to happen? You will be enslaved. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
On his feelings about winning or losing the election
“I don’t give a f— if I win the presidency or not,” West said, implying that what was important was that he is being “of service to God.”
“God has a plan for us as his people to be finally free,” said West.
“Politics, America, Trump, Biden nor Kanye West can free us.”
West added: “If this is over right now, I’m over … and if I’m over, guess what else is over right now? The country’s over.”
Watch most of the West’s South Carolina appearance in the video below.