Kanye West will have lunch with President Trump at the White House this week – and they are going to talk about prison reform and violence in Chicago

  • Kanye West, one of President Trump's few big name celebrity allies, is scheduled to meet with the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on Thursday at the White House.
  • West, who has faced backlash over his vocal support of the president, is slated to have lunch with Trump and discuss a range of issues, including criminal justice reform and violence in his home city of Chicago.
  • The visit will be the latest milestone in the unexpectedly friendly relationship between the rapper and the president, which has flourished since the two met at Trump Tower in 2016, weeks after Trump's election victory.
President-elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 13, 2016.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
President-elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 13, 2016.

One of the strangest bonds in politics and pop culture only appears to be getting stronger.

Kanye West, one of President Donald Trump's few big name celebrity allies, is scheduled to meet with the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on Thursday at the White House.

West, who has faced backlash over his vocal support of the president, will have lunch with Trump and discuss a range of issues, including criminal justice reform and violence in his home city of Chicago.

"Kanye West is coming to the White House to have lunch with President Trump and he will also meet with Jared Kushner," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "Topics of discussions will include manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago."

The visit will be the latest milestone in the unexpectedly friendly relationship between the rapper and the president, which has flourished since the two met at Trump Tower in 2016, weeks after Trump's election victory.

The next meeting comes after West drew criticism from liberals and fellow celebrities for a pro-Trump speech at the end of his Sept. 29 appearance on "Saturday Night Live," when he donned a "Make America Great Again" hat. His meandering speech praising Trump did not air, but the president mentioned West's appearance at a rally last week in Tennessee and praised West's performance in a tweet.

The separate meeting with Kushner is expected to focus on criminal justice reform, which has been a focus for Trump's son-in-law in his senior advisor role, according to reports. On Monday, Trump touted so-called stop and frisk policing tactics and said he has instructed the Justice Department to work toward reinstating the practice in Chicago.

Trump and Kushner recently met with West's wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, about sentencing reform. In July, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a Tennessee woman serving a life term for nonviolent drug offenses, after Kardashian West pleaded her case.

West's praise for the president has shocked and disappointed some of his fans. The rapper has called Trump his "brother" and said on Twitter that the two share "dragon energy." Some have questioned how West can continue to support Trump despite some racially charged statements made by Trump, particularly his attacks on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and players who protest police violence by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games.

The news of the West-Trump meeting also comes two days after one of the rapper's pop nemesis, the usually apolitical Taylor Swift, endorsed two Democratic candidates in her home state Tennessee.

Trump dismissed Swift's incursion into politics, and said he likes her music "about 25 percent less now."