President Donald Trump’s unusual efforts to get rapper A$AP Rocky out of Swedish custody after he was arrested for — and later convicted of — assault was reportedly part of a White House strategy for winning over black voters.
Yahoo News reports that the campaign to get A$AP Rocky released from jail was designed to eventually “facilitate a scene that would bolster Trump’s image among African-Americans.”
Trump, who weeks earlier had gotten in hot water for telling four women of color to “go back” to their home countries despite all being American citizens, apparently believed that helping a high-profile black celebrity would bolster his reputation among black voters who have been among the least likely to support him throughout his first term.
The scheme to free Rocky was hatched by Pastor Darrell Scott, a Trump-backing minister who has been one of the president’s top advisers on issues related to black Americans.
Scott tells Yahoo News that he told Rocky’s manager that the only thing that he wanted in return for helping the rapper was for him to publicly thank the president for securing his release.
“The White House didn’t ask for anything,” Scott recalls telling the manager. “There were no conditions attached, but my condition… was that all I’m asking for you guys to do is say thank you.”
Rocky disappointed the White House, however, when he responded to his eventual release by thanking his friends and his fans — but not once thanking the president or the White House.
“All he had to do was do a two-minute call to say thank you,” Scott tells Yahoo News. “Rocky hasn’t even called us and said, ‘Hey, man, thank you guys. I appreciate it,’ in private. Just in private.”