By Gina Cherelus
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kanye West met Republican President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss what he said were “multicultural issues” including bullying, education and violence.
West’s meeting at Manhattan’s Trump Tower sent social media into a frenzy and fueled speculation about a possible performance at Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration or an informal administration role for the rapper.
West, 39, said on Twitter he had wanted to meet Trump “to discuss multicultural issues.”
“These issues included bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago,” tweeted the singer who was raised in Chicago. “I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future President if we truly want change.”
The 15-minute meeting was the first major outing by West and generated his first tweets since he was released on Nov. 30 after a week in a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital with an unexplained condition. It quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter.
The “Jesus Walks” singer again teased the prospect of running for president himself, adding a last tweet that said simply #2024. Last year, West declared he was planning to run in 2020, but has given no details.
Asked about the purpose of the meeting, Trump told reporters afterward: “Friends, just friends. He’s a good man. Long time. Friends for a long time.”
Trump added that the two had “discussed life.”
West, sporting a new blond hairdo, was without his wife, reality television star Kim Kardashian.
He made headlines in November when he was booed at a concert for declaring his support for Trump, although he said he had not voted in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
E! News, whose E! network broadcasts reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” said earlier that Trump reached out to West. “Trump thinks he’s a great role model when it comes to business,” E! quoted a source close to the rapper as saying.
Asked by reporters whether he was considering performing at the inauguration, West did not respond.
Music stars including Beyonce, Katy Perry and Bruce Springsteen backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election and no celebrities have yet been announced as taking part in the inauguration, although country singer Garth Brooks is in discussions to perform.
West was hospitalized last month following a series of rants and after he abruptly canceled the rest of his U.S. tour. No official explanation has been given about his condition, which was initially attributed to exhaustion.
(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Doina Chiacu and Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney)