Huckabee: Trump craftily used Kanye to distract from Rex Tillerson pick

Colin Campbell
Managing Editor, Yahoo News

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday that Donald Trump’s meeting with Kanye West was a crafty move to distract the media.

Huckabee, a Trump surrogate, said the West powwow shifted attention away from Trump’s selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state earlier on Tuesday. Huckabee also pointed to Trump’s meeting Tuesday with football stars Jim Brown and Ray Lewis.

“Let’s face it, any pick Donald Trump makes for his Cabinet will set the liberal media hounds barking. But naming the CEO of Exxon as Secretary of State is like tossing a beef steak into a pound full of pit bulls,” Huckabee wrote in an email to his supporters.

The former presidential candidate continued: “The left’s howls of outrage over Rex Tillerson would have been the biggest story of the day if Trump, a master media manipulator, hadn’t used their own tactics to outfox them. Knowing the media’s obsession with celebrity, he pushed the criticism of Tillerson out of the headlines by meeting with hip-hop star Kanye West and NFL legends Jim Brown and Ray Lewis.”

Trump’s meeting with West certainly drew widespread media attention as the famed rapper entered and left Trump Tower in Manhattan. But the selection of Tillerson also drew widespread scrutiny, especially over the oil mogul’s ties to Russia.

Mike Huckabee in Trump Tower. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In his email to supporters, Huckabee also said Trump’s get-togethers with West, Brown and Lewis drew results.

“And they were obviously good meetings. Trump made it clear he means to keep his promise to help struggling black communities not with government handouts but by improving education and bringing jobs and economic opportunity to inner cities,” Huckabee wrote.

For his part, West tweeted that he met with Trump to discuss “multicultural issues,” gun violence in Chicago and the education system, among other things. He also hinted at a 2024 presidential campaign for himself and shared Trump’s signed Time magazine cover.

“To Kanye, you are a great friend. Thanks,” Trump wrote in his distinctive scrawl.


View Huckabee’s full note below:

Friend,

Let’s face it, any pick Donald Trump makes for his Cabinet will set the liberal media hounds barking. But naming the CEO of Exxon as Secretary of State is like tossing a beef steak into a pound full of pit bulls.

The left’s howls of outrage over Rex Tillerson would have been the biggest story of the day if Trump, a master media manipulator, hadn’t used their own tactics to outfox them. Knowing the media’s obsession with celebrity, he pushed the criticism of Tillerson out of the headlines by meeting with hip-hop star Kanye West and NFL legends Jim Brown and Ray Lewis.

And they were obviously good meetings. Trump made it clear he means to keep his promise to help struggling black communities not with government handouts but by improving education and bringing jobs and economic opportunity to inner cities. Brown said, “I fell in love with him because he really talks about helping African-Americans.” Lewis said, “For us as a black community, for Mr. Trump to step up … that’s everything,” and that “black or white is irrelevant” if the Trump Administration can combine “job creation and economic development in these urban areas to change the whole scheme of what our kids see.”

As for West, he wasn’t talking to reporters, but Trump said the two had been “friends for a long time,” and West later tweeted that they talked about multicultural issues, including “bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago.”

These three men can expect to get a lot of hate on the Internet from people who’ve never actually met or spoken with Trump, but who’ve only heard from his political enemies that he’s a hateful racist. I suspect that false image is already starting to fade because Trump seems determined to keep his promises to the African-American community. He really intends to show residents of cities that have been run into the ground by decades of Democratic rule that there is a better way, and that despite Hillary’s $1.2 billion smear campaign, he was really elected because he promotes economic opportunity, not racism.

I believe the greatest fear of liberals is that the “identity politics” they’ve worked so hard to promote will wither away if the groups they’ve pitted against one another realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods about Republicans in general and Trump in particular, and that it’s better for all Americans to work together than to be hyphenated Americans at each other’s throats.

A great Democrat once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The modern Democratic Party is in trouble because its longtime supporters are beginning to realize that it has nothing to sell but fear itself.

Sincerely,

Mike Huckabee