Trump Thanks Kanye West and Calls Paul Manafort a ‘Nice Guy’ in NRA Speech

Donald Trump Gives NRA speech. Screengrab, White House

President Donald Trump delivered his greatest hits at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual convention on Friday.

But before touting his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton—and hurling insults at former State Secretary John Kerry over Iran’s nuclear proliferation—the president thanked rapper-turned-conservative darling Kanye West.

“By the way, Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week, thank you Kanye,” boomed Trump, joking that “even the pollsters” thought there was a mistake.

After West embraced Trumpism in late April over Twitter, Reuters released a poll showing a doubling of support for the president with African-American men, jumping from 11 percent to 22 percent in just one week.

Throwing the audience back to his campaign—where the candidate once pleaded with African-Americans to vote for him by asking “What do you have to lose?”—Trump called African-American unemployment numbers under his administration “the lowest in history,” a claim he also made regarding women and Hispanic demographics.

On the campaign itself, Trump referred to his former manager Paul Manafort as “a nice guy” with whom he rarely interacted.

Manafort is currently on house arrest awaiting trial for conspiracy against the United States over his work as a lobbyist.

Having thanked a rapper and paid credit to an alleged criminal indebted to Russian oligarchs, the president concluded his address by advancing the NRA’s talking point that schoolteachers should be armed to prevent mass shootings.

“We still believe in allowing highly trained teachers to carry concealed weapons,” said Trump. “We trust in wonderful, every day talented people. They love our students. These teachers, they love their students. They’re not going to let anybody hurt their students. But you have to give them a chance.”

Trump Thanks Kanye West and Calls Paul Manafort a ‘Nice Guy’ in NRA Speech