Commentators and anchors across the dial lit into rapper Kanye West for his Oval Office meeting on Thursday with President Donald Trump, calling him a "token Negro, "circus performer" and "minstrel," and speculating about the fragility of his mental health.
West, who once infamously said President George W. Bush "doesn't care about black people," sported a "Make America Great Again" hat on Thursday as he effusively praised Trump in a meeting ostensibly about prison reform. In nearly 10 minutes of freewheeling remarks, West talked about Trump being a father figure, time not existing, feeling like Superman wearing the red hat, and more in a strange scene.
MSNBC's Ali Velshi let out a long "Wow" after the meeting while Stephanie Ruhle disgustedly shook her head before calling it "an assault on our White House." Added Velshi: "That was bonkers."
CNN anchor Don Lemon declared it a "minstrel show" and said West's mother was "rolling over in her grave." Lemon's guests on his nightly show went further: Bakari Sellers said West was what happened when "Negroes don't read" and Tara Setmayer said he was acting like the "token Negro of the Trump administration."
MSNBC guest Michael Eric Dyson said it was "white supremacy by ventriloquism," saying "a black mouth is moving" while "racist ideals are flowing" from West. On "The View," Yvette Nicole Brown said West acted like a "second-tier circus performer."
There was also open speculation about West's mental health; he told Trump he had been misdiagnosed as bipolar, but he previously stated he was diagnosed with a "mental condition" that the Grammy winner called his "superpower."
"The View" host Sunny Hostin speculated West's "mental illness" is exacerbated around the anniversary of his mother's death, and ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said the Trump-West conversation in the Oval Office was akin to one where both people are wearing hospital bracelets.
Lemon said he felt sorry for West and that he needed help, and Setmayer and Ruhle said Trump was exploiting someone with a clear problem.