Kanye West sparks controversy at first presidential rally, discussing abortion and Harriet Tubman

Jul 19, 2020, 5:53 PM | Updated: 6:41 pm
Kanye West rally...
(Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Kanye West, the latest candidate to announce his presidential bid, held his first campaign rally Sunday — despite rumors he already dropped out of the race. The rapper emerged in front of the crowd, decked out in a security vest and with “2020” shaved into the back of his head.

Shortly after the rally ended, Kanye West was already trending on Twitter as fans reacted to the topics he discussed — including abortion, Harriet Tubman and a potential divorce with Kim Kardashian. 

During the event, West told the crowd Tubman “never actually freed the slaves.”  Instead, he suggested, she “just had the slaves go work for other white people.”

The line drew mixed reactions from the crowd, some falling in silence with others gasping. One attendee tweeted a video of the moment, with her voice in the background saying, “We’re leaving right now.”


The moment wasn’t the first time West addressed slavery, suggesting “slavery was a choice” during a 2018 interview with TMZ. 

West also discussed abortion — which is often a key policy issue among presidential candidates — emotionally recalling his initial decision to not have his daughter North. 

“I almost killed my daughter,” West said loudly through tears. Just moments before, West shared how his father wanted to abort him — sharing a personal story on how his mother saved him. 

Kanye West holds his first rally

The rally was held in Charleston, South Carolina — a state where West is currently urging voters to sign a petition to get him on the state’s general election ballot. 

If successful, West would have his name on at least two ballots for the November election — qualifying for the Oklahoma ballot Wednesday, Oklahoma State Election Board confirmed in a tweet. West secured his name on the ballot on the filing deadline for Independent candidates. 


The rally comes roughly a week after rumors the rapper had dropped out of the race, with West’s adviser Steve Kramer telling The Intelligencer, “He’s out.” 

However, West has been active on his Twitter account urging fans to sign petitions to get him on more ballots. He already missed the filing deadlines for New York, Texas, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico and Indiana. 

West unveils new campaign platform

West originally announced his presidential bid July 4 in a tweet, without information on his campaign or which party he would running for. Since then, he told Forbes he would be the candidate for the Birthday Party — because “when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday…. When I’m president, let’s also have some fun.”

In the same interview, West announced he no longer supports President Donald Trump — noting he was “taking the red hat off.”

This comes as a sharp turn, as West has previously been an open supporter of the 45th president. 

He also gave a clearer image of what his campaign platform would focus on. West said he would base the West Administration organizational model on Wakanda — a fictional country featured in Marvel’s “The Black Panther.” 

West also denounced Planned Parenthood and noted he was suspicious of any potential coronavirus vaccine — calling vaccinations “the mark of the beast.” 

Two-and-a-half weeks after West’s initial announcement for his presidential run, the rapper has gained some — albeit small — traction in the polls. 

A national poll conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies showed West polling at 2% — higher than both Jo Jorgensen, the libertarian candidate, and Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate. 

The poll showed Joe Biden and President Trump leading far ahead at 48% and 39% respectively. 

It seems unlikely West will make it to the White House. However, some polling experts say not to discount how he could affect the presidential race.

In fact, the country saw it happen before in 2016, according to pollster Terrance Woodbury. 

“I do not want to take Kanye West seriously,” Woodbury, a partner at HIT Strategies, told The Washington Post. “But I know that we have to.”

Today’s Top Stories

All News

lake restoration...
Adam Small and Elizabeth Weiler

Lake Restoration Solutions in legal battle over Utah Lake

SALT LAKE CITY — The lake restoration company wanting to dredge and build islands on Utah Lake is filing an appeal after its request was shut down in October. Lake Restoration Solutions said it is fighting for another chance to restore Utah Lake.  The company submitted a proposal to Utah in 2017. LRS asked the […]
14 hours ago
Mike Valerio, CNN

Veterans and scientists fulfill ‘no man left behind,’ returning long-lost American remains from lonely Pacific WWII battlefield

Byrd said the average time to identify an individual is 2.5 years, but can be as quickly as two weeks.
14 hours ago
Elizabeth Weiler

Lessons to be learned from the UK’s recession

SALT LAKE CITY — “Recession” is a word that has not escaped the minds of Americans. When we observe some of the largest economies in the world like the United Kingdom, there are major takeaways we can learn from those overseas to help prevent economic disasters within our home.  Between inflation, living costs, the war […]
14 hours ago
a small boy recieves a COVID-19 vaccine in China...
JOE McDONALD Associated Press

China eases anti-COVID measures following protests

Experts warn, however, that restrictions can’t be lifted completely until at least mid-2023 because millions of elderly people still must be vaccinated.
14 hours ago
a rendering of the WonderBlock that will be developed in downtown ogden...
Alexandrea Bonilla

Downtown Ogden expansion project begins finalizing plans

A downtown Ogden expansion project, Make Ogden, is taking its first steps to creating a new development called the WonderBlock.
14 hours ago
tax increase...
Mark Jackson

Tax increase in Salt Lake County for the library

Salt Lake County Residents will see a slight tax increase. The county approved a budget for 2022-2023 the will help update the library system.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Kanye West sparks controversy at first presidential rally, discussing abortion and Harriet Tubman