Rapper Kanye West announces US presidential bid on Twitter

American rapper Kanye West has talked about running for president for years. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - American rapper Kanye West, a vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump, announced on Saturday (July 4) that he would run for president in 2020 in an apparent challenge to Mr Trump and his presumptive Democratic rival, former vice-president Joe Biden.

"We must now realise the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States," West wrote in a Twitter post, adding an American flag emoji and the hashtag "#2020VISION".

West's Saturday night post instantly went viral, with more than 100,000 retweets within the first hour. West has 29.3 million followers on Twitter.

'Kanye' quickly became the number one trending term on Twitter in the US.

It was not immediately clear if West was serious about vying for the presidency four months before the Nov 3 election or if he had filed any official paperwork to appear on state election ballots.

The deadline to add independent candidates to the ballot has not yet passed in many states.

But if West is serious, there is a long list of hurdles towards running that would be nearly insurmountable for most candidates, including starting a campaign from scratch in July of an election year.

He would need to qualify for ballot access across 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as build a presidential-grade political organisation from scratch without the support of a party infrastructure.

At the moment, West doesn't appear to have filed forms with the Federal Election Commission to run for office, according to a Bloomberg review of FEC data.

West, 43, has talked about running for president for years, and last year told an audience he'd run for president in 2024.

West and his equally famous wife, Kim Kardashian West, have visited Mr Trump in the White House.

At one meeting in October 2018, West donned a red "Make America Great Again" hat. He also delivered a rambling, profanity-laden speech in which he discussed alternative universes and his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which he said was actually sleep deprivation.

Mr Elon Musk, the chief executive of electric-car maker Tesla and another celebrity known for eccentric outbursts, endorsed West's Twitter post: "You have my full support!" he wrote.

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