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"It's funny, in this world that we live in, there's two main motivating forces, and I tweet about it all the time: it's love or fear, and you can't explain love," Kanye said. "My cousin is locked up for murder, and I love him and so he did a bad thing, but I still love him."
He also bristled at the notion that his occupation or ethnicity should automatically dictate his political leanings.
"Just as a musician, African-American guy out in Hollywood — all these different things, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me and then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn't say it out loud or my career would be over, I'd get kicked out (of) the black community, because blacks, we're supposed to have a monolithic thought — we can only be Democrats," he said.
Referencing his 2016 hospital stay, Kanye said it took him a while before he felt courageous enough to endorse the president.
"I didn't have the confidence to take on the world and possible backlash. It took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat, no matter what the consequences were and what it represented to me — it's not about policies 'cause I'm not a politician like that but it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt no matter what anyone said and saying you can't bully me, liberals can't bully me, news can't bully me, the hip-hop community, they can't bully me," he explained. "Because at that point, if I'm afraid to be me, I'm no longer 'Ye. That's what makes Ye. And I actually quite enjoy when people actually are mad at me about certain things."
The conversation returned to Trump later in the interview, when Kanye posed the question: "When I see people just even like go at the president, it's like, why not try love?"
Kimmel said he understood where his guest was coming from, but denied that the matter was so simple. "There are literally families being torn apart as a result of what this president is doing, and I think that we cannot forget that whether we like his personality or not, his actions are really what matter," he said. "You've so famously and so powerfully said 'George Bush doesn't care about black people,' it makes me wonder what makes you think that Donald Trump does, or any people at all?"
Kanye took a moment to contemplate Kimmel's question. Before too long, Kimmel interjected and said: "Why don't we take a break; we'll come back…"
When the show returned from commercial, Kimmel did not return to Trump again, chatting instead about Kanye's kids and his bipolar diagnosis.
Still, the moment was a conversation on Twitter, pleasing some while frustrating others. "#KanyeWest tries to stand up for trump and #JimmyKimmel shuts em up with facts,"one fan tweeted.
Others wanted Kanye's answer. "... Shame on Kimmel for not letting Kanye even respond. Goes right to commercial," one person posted.
"So... kanye is not gonna answer the question Jimmy asked about Trump separating families and if he loves black people?" wrote another. "We're just gonna ignore that. Back to small talk I see"