President Trump confirmed reports Friday that his administration is working to help release rapper A$AP Rocky after the entertainer was arrested in Sweden on suspicion of assault charges earlier this month.
During an Oval Office event honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Trump told reporters that he plans to continue reaching out to “friends of his” in Sweden to lobby for the release of Rocky, also known as Rakim Mayers, who’s been in foreign custody since July 2. Trump did not give a more specific timeline on when he thinks the musician might be freed.
“We are going to be calling and talking to them, we’ve already started. And many, many members of the African-American community have called me, friends of mine, and said, could you help,” said Trump. “I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky. But I can tell you he has tremendous support from the African-American community in this country. And when I say African-American, I think I can really say from everyone in this country, ’cuz we’re all one. I have been called by so many people asking me to help A$AP Rocky.”
One of those African-American supporters is rapper and Trump loyalist Kanye West, who urged his wife, Kim Kardashian, to call White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, according to TMZ. The pair had worked with Kardashian on issues of criminal justice reform over the past year and played a critical role in the clemency of nonviolent drug offender Alice Marie Johnson.
After Kardashian got in touch with the president’s children regarding Rocky’s detention, Kushner reportedly alerted Trump personally, who in turn charged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to intervene in Sweden.
The president gave a different version of events Friday, telling reporters that his wife, first lady Melania Trump, first brought the arrest to his attention.
“Actually the one who knew about A$AP Rocky was our first lady,” Trump said. “She was telling me, ‘Can you help A$AP Rocky? Do you want to give them a little statement on that?
Thank you @realDonaldTrump , @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated 🙏🏼🤞🏼 https://t.co/Ym1Rzo5Z6c— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 18, 2019
The first lady then chimed in, saying that the White House is working with the State Department to release the artist quickly: “We hope to get him home soon.”
Swedish prosecutors have requested more time to detain the rapper as they decide whether to formally charge him, the Washington Post reported. Several American lawmakers, including Reps. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and André Carson, D-Ind., have spoken out against the “inhumane conditions” Mayers faces in Sweden. On Wednesday, all four congressmen called for his release.
Trump cited his “very good relationship” with the Scandinavian nation Friday as possible leverage in securing Mayers’s release.
“We’re going to see,” said Trump. “Sweden, we’ve had a very good relationship with Sweden. He’s being held, as you know, in Sweden and we’ve had a very good relationship in Sweden.”
After boarding Air Force One en route to a fundraiser at Bedminster golf club, Trump tweeted that he had just chatted with West regarding Mayers’s arrest and said that he’d be calling the “very talented” prime minister of Sweden to mitigate the situation.
Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2019
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