Trump A$AP Rocky — President Called Sweden’s Prime Minister to ‘Vouch’ for Rapper

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Trump A$AP Rocky — President Called Sweden’s Prime Minister to ‘Vouch’ for Rapper

A$AP Rocky has been held in a Swedish jail for more than two weeks, in the aftermath of a fight authorities accuse the musician of participating in while visiting Stockholm for a concert. Celebrities including Sean Combs, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kim Kardashian West have urged for the release of the rapper, who maintains that he was acting in self defense. And now A$AP has a new ally—President Donald Trump.

The president tweeted Saturday that he had a phone call with Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The Swedish leader “assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly,” wrote Trump. “Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative.”

According to the president, the call took place in the aftermath of lobbying by celebrity Trump supporter Kanye West. On Friday, the president promised on Twitter to call Prime Minister Löfven as “so many people would like to see this quickly resolved.”

But the Prime Minister said ahead of the phone conversation that Trump’s personal appeal wouldn’t alter the course of the case. “I will explain that the Swedish judicial system is independent,” said Löfven, according to NBC. “In Sweden, everyone is equal before the law, and this includes visitors from other countries.”

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday that while he has not met the rapper, “many, many members of the African American community have called me, friends of mine, and said, ‘Can you help?’”

“So, I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky,” he continued, “but I can tell you that 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 everybody in the country because we’re all one.”

Despite his long history of racism, Trump, who won less than 10% of the black vote in the 2016 election, has boasted of having the support of the black community. He often cites his criminal justice efforts, including granting clemency to Alice Marie Johnson and his support of the First Step criminal justice reform law, in overtures to black voters.

But since last week, Trump has been defending himself against new charges of bigotry in the wake of a racist tweet storm in which he told American congressmen of color to “go back” to the “crime-infested” countries “from which they came.” He later described one of the congresswomen, Muslim Somali-American Rep. Ilhan Omar, as being an Al Qaeda sympathizer, and at a Trump rally in North Carolina Wednesday, the crowed chanted “send her back” after the president mentioned Omar. In the wake of these latest racist incidents, Trump’s advocacy for A$AP Rocky seems an attempt to combat the widespread denunciations of his bigotry.

Pop star Justin Bieber chimed in on Trump’s involvement with the rapper’s imprisonment Friday night. “I want my friend out, he wrote on Twitter. “I appreciate you trying to help him. But while your [sic] at it @realDonaldTrump can you also let those kids out of cages?”

Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.

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