John Legend says fellow musician and one-time 2020 presidential candidate Ye "was very upset with me" after he declined to support his longshot campaign.
The two men had previously clashed over Ye's support for former Republican President Donald Trump, and Ye felt betrayed that Legend continued supporting Democrats, according to a new interview Legend had with The New Yorker.
Legend said that comments he made last month during an episode of David Axelrod's The Axe Files—when he stated that he and Ye had "publicly disagreed" about Ye running for office and his support for Trump—had been misconstrued.
He set the record straight to The New Yorker:
"Yeah, what it got described as was, we stopped being friends because he supported Trump, which was a mischaracterization of what I said. That was kind of the Rupert Murdoch version of the story — it was all over the New York Post and Fox News."
"What I was saying was that he was very upset with me that I didn’t support him running for president, and that was the real impetus for us having a strain in our friendship."
"I don’t know what will happen in the future, but he was very upset with me that I didn’t support him and I supported Joe Biden. It’s up to him whether he can get past that."
Legend and Ye initially had a falling out in 2018 after Ye shared Legend's texts urging him to "reconsider aligning [himself] with Trump," and Legend says that he tried to talk to Ye "with love and with empathy, and tried to help him see another way of looking at things."
"The most frustrating thing about his run for the presidency for me was how much it was an operation run by the Trump campaign. I don’t know how aware he was of the fact that there was so much Trump personnel throughout his campaign, raising money for him, getting petitions signed for him, getting him on the ballot."
"I saw their work on his behalf as a clear scam and an operation to try to siphon Black votes away from Biden, so there was no way I was going to support it. Kanye was upset with that, and we haven’t been friends since, really."
Many have praised Legend for speaking out, lauding his integrity.
Ye announced on Twitter in July 2020 that he would be running in the 2020 general election, which made him the subject of considerable online mockery.
When he finally conceded defeat, Ye teased a 2024 run.
In December 2021, The Daily Beastreported that Ye's presidential campaign received millions of dollars in services from a secret network of Republican Party operatives, including Republican elite advisors and a managing partner at one of the largest conservative political firms in the United States.
His campaign committee also did not report having paid some of these advisors and used an abbreviation for another advisor, constituting a potential violation of federal laws. According to campaign finance experts, these actions were done in an attempt to hide any connections between Ye's presidential campaign and Republican operatives.