Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Presidential run in jeopardy as Kanye West says wife tried ‘to lock me up’

West's comments came after a campaign event in which he derided abolitionist Harriet Tubman

Rapper and entrepreneur Kanye West’s shot at the presidency became more unlikely this week after a bizarre campaign event followed by an admission his wife had tried to seek medical help for him.

West’s behaviour at a campaign event in South Carolina raised concerns over his well-being on Sunday, where he encouraged the crowd to ask questions.

With "2020" shaved on to his head, West veered between several subjects during the hour-long discussion, including a tearful admission that he had wanted his wife, Kim Kardashian, to get an abortion.

"My dad wanted to abort me. My mum saved my life. There would've been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy," West said.

He later shouted, "I almost killed my daughter! I almost killed my daughter!"

But it was his comment that American abolitionist “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people," that grabbed most headlines.

Tubman is known for helping free dozens of black people from slavery by using a network of activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She fought for the Union in the Civil War, as well.

The controversial remarks at the Charleston event sparked speculation about his mental health. West has spoken publicly about his bipolar diagnosis in the past.

In a now-deleted tweet, part of a series of cryptic messages, West appeared to confirm his wife had attempted to seek medical help on his behalf.

"Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughter’s life yesterday," he wrote, referring to the 2017 thriller.

Later, the rapper tweeted, “Ima [sic] focus on the music now,” prompting speculation he intended to drop out of the presidential race.

Despite Sunday’s event, West failed to qualify as a candidate for the South Carolina ballot. According to State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire, neither West nor a campaign representative handed in 10,000 signatures by Monday noon , as required by state law to appear as a petition candidate.

West has also missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several other states and it was unclear if he was willing or able to collect enough signatures required to qualify in others.

Last week, he qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the filing deadline.

The entertainer initially announced his candidacy on July 4. He said he is no longer a supporter of President Donald Trump.

Updated: July 21, 2020 10:18 AM

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