U.S. President Donald Trump is proud to have a "genius" like Kanye West as a friend and loyal supporter.
The Bound 2 hitmaker has been bucking the celebrity trend of slamming the controversial Republican leader ever since his shock election win in 2016, and has instead been publicly praising Trump, even wearing a red baseball cap bearing the real estate mogul-turned-politician's Make America Great Again slogan on social media.
Earlier this week, (begs08Oct18), it was announced that Kanye had scored an invitation to join Trump for lunch at the White House to discuss a series of social and economic issues, and hours before Thursday's meeting, the president called in to U.S. news show Fox & Friends and touched on his unlikely friendship with the outspoken rapper.
"First of all, I like him a lot," Trump said. "He's been a friend of mine. I've known him for a long time.
"He's a very different kind of a guy, I say that in a positive way. Those that are in the music business say he's a genius and that's OK with me, because as far as I'm concerned, he is."
Trump also credited his relationship with Kanye with improving his standing among African-American voters.
"When Kanye came out very strongly (in his support for Trump) a couple months ago, something happened - my (approval) polls went up 25 per cent. Nobody's ever seen it," the leader remarked. "He has a big following in the African-American community. A big, big following."
Kanye's White House visit was also due to include a sit-down with Trump's son-in-law and political advisor Jared Kushner, although the hip-hop star missed out on witnessing the president sign the 2018 Music Modernization Act (MMA) into law, as the event was held shortly before West's arrival.
Singers John Rich and Kid Rock were among the guests present for the signing, which reforms licensing laws to allow songwriters and artists to receive payments for pre-1972 recordings, and increases their earnings from streaming services.
The White House meeting will be Kanye's second with Trump since his election victory - weeks after the Republican was voted into office, the rapper showed his support by paying a visit to Trump Tower in New York City in December, 2016.