The 41-year-old rapper visited the Oval Office to discuss job opportunities for former convicts, a goal that was largely overshadowed by a 10-minute monologue he gave on a range of other issues in front of President Donald Trump.
Kanye also referred to himself as a “mother f—er” and reiterated his full endorsement of Trump as a throng of TV news cameras and journalists watched.
“Let’s stop worrying about the future. All we really have is today,” Kanye said while wearing a hat emblazoned with the Trump campaign’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
“Trump is on his hero’s journey right now, and he might not have expected to have a crazy motherf—er like Kanye West.”
Lemon held his head in dismay after watching a clip of Kanye’s remarks on CNN.
“I have no animosity for Kanye West. I’m just going to be honest and I may get in a lot of trouble for it,” Lemon said. “I actually feel bad for him. What I saw was a minstrel show today.”
Lemon, who is black, said Kanye was “embarrassing himself,” adding that he was not only “embarrassing Americans, but mostly African-Americans.”
“I couldn’t even watch it,” Lemon said. “I had to turn the television off because it was so hard to watch.”
The CNN host echoed what other media personalities said on Thursday and suggested Kanye was in need of professional help. Kanye, who voluntarily admitted himself to a hospital for exhaustion and sleep deprivation in 2016, faced widespread criticism after his release for making erratic, politically charged statements.
“Him, sitting there being used by the president of the United States,” Lemon said, “The president of the United States exploiting him, and, I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, exploiting someone who needs help.”
Lemon implored Kanye to “back away from the cameras” and lay low so he can “deal with his issues.”
He continued: “If anyone around him cares about him … they need to grab him and snatch him up, and get Kanye together because Kanye needs help.”
Lemon, who said he does not belong to a political party, rejected the notion that his views on Kanye were politically motivated.
“This has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative,” Lemon said. “This has to do with honesty. And we have to stop pretending … like this is normal.”
The CNN host said he believes Kanye’s mother, Donda West, would be “embarrassed” by her son’s recent behavior. Donda died in 2007 from coronary artery disease and complications after surgery. Kanye’s mother has been one of the most influential figures in his life.
Lemon recounted his text messages with one of Donda’s friends from Chicago: “Donda would be embarrassed by this. She would be terribly disturbed by this. And Kanye has not been the same since his mother died.”
“Kanye, back away from the cameras, go get some help, and then come back and make your case,” Lemon said. “If you want to be conservative, if you want to support Donald Trump, that is your business. But as you’re doing it, have some sense with it. Make sense. Educate yourself.”
Following Kanye’s visit, other media personalities weighed in on the freewheeling press conference at the White House.
“If you think you’re going to get a thoughtful play-by-play and political analysis, you’re not, because that was an assault on our White House,” MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle said.
“I’m just stunned across the board,” Ruhle added.