Rapper Kanye West will meet with President Donald Trump for lunch at the White House on Thursday.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said West will also meet with Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. "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,” Sanders said in a statement.
An equally controversial and influential figure, West became one of Trump’s highest-profile celebrity supporters shortly after the 2016 election, visiting the president-elect at Trump Tower and posting pictures of himself on social media wearing a Make America Great Again hat. West has been booed during concerts for supporting Trump, most recently during his appearance as a musical guest on the television program Saturday Night Live.
Trump has called out the homicide rates in Chicago, West’s hometown. At the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando on Monday, Trump said, "The crime spree is a terrible blight on that city" and "There's no reason for what's going on there," calling for city police to reinstate a “stop and frisk” policy.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded by noting that “overall gun violence was down…about 20 percent” in 2017 in the city, and continued to decline through the first nine months of this year. The city does also have a “stop and frisk” policy, though subject to restrictions agreed to in 2015 by police after a study by the American Civil Liberty Union found the practice largely targeted minorities.
Trump’s comments come at a time of racial tension in the city. Just last week, a jury convicted white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an African American.