Trump Pledges to Seek Release of Rapper in Swedish Custody

Rapper A$AP Rocky in 2013. (Chad Cooper via Flickr)

WASHINGTON (CN) – After a chat with Kanye West, President Donald Trump said Friday he will call Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in an effort to free American rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been in police custody in Sweden for weeks.

“Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!” the president tweeted.

A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was detained in early July after a video was posted to social media sites showing the musician in a street fight. Mayers was performing at a show in Stockholm prior to being arrested.

After the video was posted and picked up by a Swedish media outlet, Mayers responded in his own video on Instagram. He claimed he and his security team were protecting themselves.

“We don’t know these guys and we didn’t want trouble, they followed us for four blocks, and they were slapping girls butts who passed, give me a break,” he wrote.

President Trump is late to the fight to free Mayers. Shortly after the rapper’s arrest, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., sent letters to the State Department, along with the U.S. Embassy in Sweden, advocating for his release.

Espaillat notes in his letters that Mayers was never allowed to exercise his rights under the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations, which allows an individual arrested in a foreign country to talk to representatives from their own nation.

Some reporters have alleged inhumane conditions at the Swedish jail Mayers is detained in, but his lawyer has refuted that claim.

The West and Trump families have been intertwined since the president’s election. West appeared with the president at Trump Tower in December 2016, when Trump called him “a good man.” He also said the pair had been friends for “a long time.”

West had tweeted he and Trump met to discuss multicultural issues.

“I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future president if we truly want change,” West tweeted in 2016.

Last year, West tweeted, “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy.”

West and his wife more famously met with Trump in the Oval Office last year, where West sported a “Make America Great Again” hat – the president’s 2016 campaign slogan.

“It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman,” West said during the visit.

Kim Kardashian West, who married the rapper in 2014 and was made famous by the reality series, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” visited the White House twice last year  to discuss prison reform with the president. Both visits were meant to help work towards efforts to commute sentences of nonviolent drug offenders.

The president later granted clemency to one offender, Alice Marie Johnson, a grandmother whose life imprisonment for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense made her a cause celebre for criminal-justice reform.

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