Presidents tend to have a lot on their minds, especially the past two White House occupants. From two wars to Hurricane Katrina, the blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well, terrorist attacks and the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, the plates of former President George W. Bush and current commander in chief Barack Obama are plenty full.
So it was a bit surprising to learn in the new memoir by Bush, "Decision Points," that a quip from rapper Kanye West represented the "low point" of his eight-year presidency. Though the two men have never met (as far as we can tell) and have little or nothing in common, over the past two weeks, their names have become inextricably linked as each has made pointed and/or conciliatory comments about the other.
How did we get to this point?
It all started back in September 2005, when Kanye went off-script during the all-star Hurricane Katrina telethon and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," airing his thoughts about the sitting president's reaction to the devastation in the Gulf Coast. Bush didn't respond to the slam at the time, but it clearly made an impact on him, since five years later, he devotes space in his book to talking about how that comment impacted him.
In a November 2 interview with NBC, Bush said that comment marked the most "disgusting moment" in his presidency, saying he didn't appreciate it then and doesn't appreciate it now. Kanye called in to a Houston radio station the next day and apologized for the comments, saying, "I definitely can understand the way he feels to be accused of being a racist in any way, because the same thing happened to me," he said, referring to criticism he got following his 2009 bum-rush of Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. "I got accused of being a racist, and ... with both situations it was a lack of compassion that America saw in that situation."
Then, on Monday, Bush's interview with "Today" show host Matt Lauer aired in its entirety in prime time, and Kanye followed up by taping his own sit-down with Lauer the next day, which hasn't aired in full yet.
But on Wednesday (November 10), Kanye took to his Twitter account to express his rage at how he was portrayed in a clip of his Lauer interview.
"I went up there to express how I was empathetic to Bush because I labeled him a racist, and years later I got labeled as a racist," West tweeted early Wednesday morning. "While I was trying to give the interview they started playing the 'MTV' under me with audio!!!!!!!," he added, before firing off a string of emotionally charged tweets about his hurt feelings over the interview. "I don't mess with Matt Lauer or the Today Show ... and that's a very nice way for me to put it! ... HE TRIED TO FORCE MY ANSWERS. IT WAS VERY BRUTAL AND I CAME THERE WITH ONLY POSITIVE INTENT ... I feel very alone very used very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused ... I don't trust anyone but myself! Everyone has an agenda. I don't do press anymore. I can't be everything to everybody anymore ... I can't be everybody's hero and villain savior and sinner Christian and anti Christ! ... I can't take anymore advice!!! I create, I'm creative, I have a good heart, everyone will see and understand one day."
Lauer rolled a bit of his interview with West during Bush's appearance on Wednesday's "Today" show, and this time, the former president said he is not "a hater" and does not hate West.
So, for now, it seems Bush and West have put their beef aside, though the same can't be said for Yeezy and Lauer.