In his first event since declaring himself a presidential candidate, Kanye West told a crowd of supporters that “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves” and broke down in tears as he recalled how he and Kim Kardashian had considered aborting their first daughter.
West’s monologue in Charleston, South Carolina, was impassioned and frequently incoherent; Below, we’ve outlined some of the factual inaccuracies and partly alarming claims from his 2020 campaign launch.
Did it look like a Presidential campaign launch?
Despite having "2020" shaved onto the back of his head, West revealed, "I don't give a f*** if I win the presidency or not."
Although he's not the first presidential hopeful to cite the bible or condemn pornography in a campaign speech, there were several odd factors that undermined the credibility of the event — and his bid for office.
West wore a bullet-proof vest, broke down in tears, and made a number of factually incorrect claims about slavery and New York abortion health laws. The venue reportedly lacked audience microphones, so West frequently silenced the crowd so that members could be heard.
Does Kanye want to outlaw abortion?
Although his speech was unambiguously anti-abortion, he would not outlaw the procedure if elected. "Abortion should be legal, but the option of maximum increase should be available," he argued. In an effort to discourage abortion, however, West proposed a $1 million payment be given to anyone who gives birth to a child, "or something in that family."
As part of his anti-abortion tirade, West made the incorrect claim that a six-month-old fetus could be legally aborted in the state of New York. In reality, New York law allows for people to get an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, providing there is "an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient's life or health."
Why is he anti-abortion?
West's anti-abortion stance is apparently informed by two events in his own life: his and Kardashian's decision not to abort their first child, and his mother's decision not to abort him.
During his speech, West recounted how he and his then-girlfriend Kim had considered an abortion before he was visited by god. "My girlfriend called me screaming, crying. And she said I'm pregnant. She was crying," he recalled.
West explained that, following their conversation, he sat down at his laptop. "My screen went black and white," he said. "And god said, 'if you f*** with my vision, I f*** with yours.'" West then called Kardashian and she said, "We're going to have this baby." Breaking down into tears, West shouted, "she had the pills [for the abortion] in her hand," and "I almost killed my daughter!"
He then told the story of his own childhood: "My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me," he said. "There would have been no Kanye West. Because my Dad was too busy."
What did he say about Harriet Tubman?
One of West's most controversial claims from last night's event was that historical figure Harriet Tubman "never actually freed the slaves." Tubman was born a slave in Maryland's Dorchester County around 1820 and did free slaves. She is the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad's "conductors." The Underground Railroad was a network of people — African Americans as well as white — offering shelter and aid to escaped slaves from the South. During a 10-year span, Tubman made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.
West argued that, rather than freeing slaves, "[Tubman] just had the slaves work for other white people." The argument can be made that policies such as Jim Crow, red-lining, and the prison industrial complex have in many ways, continued elements of the slavery system. West's claim is, however, a clumsy and dangerously inaccurate interpretation of this idea.
Many attendees were troubled by his claim — click through the post below to hear their reactions.
Did Kanye West claim his brain was too big for his skull?
Yes. At one point in the evening, West boasted about his IQ of 132, and described going to the hospital “because my brain was too big for my skull.” Watch the clip below.