Kanye West responds to George W. Bush about Katrina controversy: 'I definitely can understand the way he feels'

Kanye-West-BushImage Credit: Will Ragozzino/Getty Images; Janet Mayer/PR PhotosKanye West has responded to former president George W. Bush’s recent statement regarding his controversial post-Hurricane Katrina remarks. West’s surprising reply: Now that five years have gone by, he can sympathize more with the man he once said “doesn’t care about black people.”

Bush recently told Matt Lauer that hearing West say those words during a Hurricane Katrina benefit telethon was “a disgusting moment.” He recalled telling his wife at the time that West’s comments were in fact the single worst moment of his presidency. Today, an interviewer from a Houston radio station asked West for his thoughts on the matter.

“I definitely can understand the way he feels, to be accused of being a racist in any way, because the same thing happened to me, where I got accused of being a racist,” West replied, referring to the aftermath of his run-in with Taylor Swift last fall. “For both situations, it was basically a lack of compassion that America felt in that situation. With him, it was a lack of compassion of him not rushing, him not taking the time to rush down to New Orleans. For me, it was a lack of compassion of cutting someone off in their moment. But nonetheless, I think we’re all quick to pull a race card in America. And now I’m more open, and the poetic justice that I feel, to have went through the same thing that he went [through] — and now I really more connect with him on just a humanitarian level.”

That’s an extremely gracious way of looking at things, to say the least. Listen to the radio clip after the jump (via Rap Radar), then let us know: What do you think of Kanye West’s new attitude toward Bush?

(Follow The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com:
George Bush really does not “appreciate” Kanye West’s Katrina criticism: “The worst moment of my presidency”
Kanye West and Taylor Swift: Why do people care so much about this story?


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  • D

    He was right about Bush the first time.

    • Miss Talk

      He was right EACH time. He just has no TIMING.

      • fat

        you……are an idiot

      • Miss Talk

        Me too, I’m willing to be a better person and I don’t want to be a bully no more. So don’t come after me by insulting me, especially with that name of yours

      • Cyntha

        That’s true. LOL.

      • phat

        I don’t understand this on a humanitarian level.

    • Art

      It’s easy to call someone a racist, either directly or indirectly. I know one thing, He that is without sin, cast the first stone. I’m sorry sir, but it seems that you are the racist, I’m sorry to say.

      • Michael

        And, I take it that YOU are without sin? Or are you just a firm believer in the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra?

    • AK

      Coming next season on CBS: “S@*% That Crazy EW Poster ‘Larry David’ Says”

    • u

      @ AK:
      LMAO!!!

    • TGH

      Larry David better be on of EW’s ‘Entertainers of the Year’.

    • dan@aol.com

      Taylor Swift/Award Show/ Was a Setup from the Illumanati. His Father “Satan” gave Kanye West his Worldly Success in exchange for his Mothers life, which was Sacraficed on the operating table in a 2007.

      Kanye West is another Devil Worshipper Illumnatii puppet mk ultra man like….

      Kanye , what good does it do a man to gain the entire world and lose his soul.????

    • Shotgun Samurai

      See I’m not even sure it’s the original Larry David anymore. It’s almost like the name has taken on a life of its own!

    • ha!

      @AK… That title needs the word TROLL in between “crazy” and “EW” :)

    • LOL

      Bush and the GOP doesn’t care about anyone…unless you’re part of his “base.” Now watch this drive.

      • exhibit a

        ur doin a heck of a job brownie

      • Michael

        Speaking of not caring, does anyone give a flying poop about what either of these buffoons have to say?

    • Grammar Police

      “…to have WENT through…??” It’s GONE through, moron. This country is full of too many uneducated lumps.

      • betterthanmost2007

        I totally agree w/grammar police..unless we reverse this notion that mediocrity is sufficient,this country will continue to hail mediocre or less than mediocre so called leaders like bush and kanye.Stop the madness, pullease!!!

    • Tom

      I AM SO SICK OF SEEING THIS BIG LIPPED MONKEY’S FACE! DIE ALREADY KANYE DIE!!!

      • jodipo

        Tom, you may have emotional problems. Has a Dr. perchance prescribed you some medication you may have forgotten to take recently?

      • Tom

        NO JODIPO BUT A CAP IN KANYE’S @SS WOULD CURE MY MENTAL CONDITION. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF MONKEY’S LIKE KANYE BEING REWARDED FOR BEING @SSHOLES!

      • blip

        yea like lisa rinna paid tons of money to fatten her lips and recently saw how stupid she looks and decided to deflate them… what ignorance…

      • Krystal

        someone’s a racist and it looks like it’s this guy

      • daisy

        I am so sick of crackers like you tom. Al cracked up and full of crumbs!

    • Jeff

      Why are black people so stupid and racist?

      • Not Larry David

        Probably the same reason you are so stupid an racist.

      • blip

        obviously you don’t live in the south JEFF and have never been by the local winn dixie and/or wal-mart – oh yea, let me not leave out kmart. it’s quite a funny trip…

      • daisy

        Because we deal with stupid people like you. We just stoop down to your level of understanding!

    • gingersmom

      An internet post being removed isn’t the same as living under NAZI rule. Most of the people who experienced it are no longer here. Don’t cheapen their pain by comparing everybody you don’t agree with to NAZIs.

    • Thomas

      D you are a complete idiot along with Kanye. Kanye says and does what he sees that benefits him.

    • DebraD

      He was wrong about Bush the first time, but after going through a situation where similar conclusions were reached, he saw the error of his ways. I am impressed with how much he has matured, and how gracious he is now being. To say that Kanye was right the first time shows a lack ofmunderstanding regarding Bush’s character.

    • sls

      Kanye needs to shut up and sit down. He’s not nearly as imporatnt as HE thinks he is. Just go away!

    • Tag

      If Bush thinks that being insulted by Kanye West is a more distressful moment in his presidency than watching the Twin Towers fall, he’s an even bigger idiot than I thought he was. (No, I’m not blaming Bush for the attacks, but most people would find the attacks more distressing than an insult.)

  • KT

    I appreciate his willingness to open his mind and find common ground, but I find it hard to compare the two situations. A silly award show vs. a crisis that involved people dying. I feel a lot stronger about one event than the other. Bush deserved harsh criticism for his reaction.

    • Kate

      Agreed 100%.

    • Carrie Little

      Deserved criticism? Yes
      Was he racist? No.
      Idiots like Kanye need to stop pulling the race card whenever something involves black people.

      • Laura

        I agree. It just segments our society even further… Just adds to the “Us vs. Them” mentality held by both sides. We will NEVER get over the stereotypes we each inherently have of other races if we continue to segment each other in that way, in any situation. If any race categorizes themselves and/or other races and makes it us vs. them all the time, it just cements the idea that races are viable ways to distinguish people.

      • erin

        You’re right, it’s really hard to separate whether Bush’s pathetic response to Katrina in New Orleans was due to his disregard for black people, or his total disdain for the poor.

      • ks

        agree with KT and Laura

      • Kate

        I agree with erin though, it most certainly was a class thing (regardless of race). Would the timing have been so slow if it were Boston, New York, LA? Maybe I’m a cynic, but I doubt it.

      • Karen

        Or stop playing the victim. You make your own destiny. Get off you but and not expect the government to take care of you.

      • MP

        @Karen

        Typical conservative arrogance and lack of compassion. Not everyone can take care of themselves and not everyone can “make their own destiny” in a natural disaster like Katrina. You are kind of stuck with what Mother Nature decides she’s going to do to you. Maybe some day you’ll be in a bad way with no help and you’ll see things from different perspective instead of just assuming some people expect the government to take care of them. Sure, some people take advantage of the system but I notice that when the wealthy get a tax break or use the system to hang on to their precious money they just consider that their due. When lower income people get a break or a benefit from the government, well then they are just freeloaders and losers.

      • @erin

        while bush did not handle the situation well – i dont think he deserves all of the blame he got. the local governments were not prepared at all for katrina. they should have gotten more criticism for their lack of preparation – but it is easier for everyone to blame bush for the entire thing.

      • Laura

        True, it isn’t about race is about class. Bush doesn’t care about POOR people no matter the race.

      • Matt Johnson

        People need to stop pulled the race card…

        You agree with Kanye. How does that make you feel? Did you even read or listen to the thing – or did you just come here to troll?

    • Karate Pants

      Uh, yeah. Totally. No one drowned or starved when the teenage country singer was interrupted.
      Kanye was right in the first place. I’m disappointed that his massive ego won’t allow him to discuss it without relating it to that ridiculous awards show moment.

      • ha!

        And Bush’s massive ego won’t let him talk about his presidency without mentioning how bad his feelings were hurt by Kanye.

      • @ha!

        You do realize he was asked about it, right?

      • Bradley

        ^ and you realize Bush decided to write about it in his book, right?

      • @Bradly

        and you realize that if the kanye situation hadn’t been addressed in his book, someone would have called him out on that, right?

    • SJ

      Larry David…is that you?

      May be next time they will come to your house to get out of the storm because not everyone has a place to go to. Or you can go build a strong enough levee that will withstand a storm it was designed to stop. Then may be you will get the chance to see the some of the white people also living in poverty there and you will realize it was not a issue of race but of social status.

  • KaDee

    Trust me, nobody will be buying his album this time. Most of his fans don’t buy physical albums (they’ll download free, leaked stuff off the internet though). He will never come close to selling what he used to before. He did a great job covering up his racist self but the past year made his true self clear to us. Most of his crossover fans are gone. The only way he sells a lot of albums is if he buys half of them. The man is DONE.

    • PHD

      we’ll see, make sure to post a comment if and when it charts…lets see if you can be as humble as Kanye was in his response if your wrong KaDee

    • dnnlnn85

      PHD, did you just call Kanye humble? I believe that is the definition of an oxymoron.

    • u

      I know you Swift fans are SO desperate to see Kanye go down in flames, but trust me, he isn’t going anywhere. Taylor’s career will fade into obscurity long before Kanye does.

      • yournightmare

        yeah,right. heard that one before. imagine what pressure she had coming to this album, and she delivered. lets see how kanye does.

    • Speedy

      Sad to say but I agree. Kanye West is done in the game. He will go Gold but I think he will never be where he was back in the day. Taylor Swift would have to do a duet with him for on her CD for him to get back. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon

  • Kate

    Um, he actually says that the Swift situation changed how he saw it, so… yay for you, you can read!

  • LBDII

    Typical ghetto man? Kanye said was totally human thing to say. Of course he looks at it different now that he was in a situation that he felt was familiar. AS FOR the drug dealer comment, Kanye has never said he sold drugs I hope all of this was just for shock value.

    • Larry David

      I am also a racist drug dealing murderer which is how I know about 99% of the people in the rap music industry.

      • DGH

        and here I thought you was just a kid who’s mom give’s you too much internet time.

    • kaloalo

      “typical ghetto man”?
      well i guess that makes you racist too

  • HD

    Bush isn’t a racist, he’s a classist. If those people had been rich the delays would not have happened. It’s not a black/white thing, it’s always a money thang.

    • Carrie

      Agreed. It’s a money thing. It was the poor people that didn’t run when the hurricane came.

      It just happens that most poor people are black.

      • newsjunkie

        why is that? are they denied an education in this country?

      • Heather

        I typically agree that it is a money thing, but the people who he visited in Missippi were poor as well. They were just white poor people. Most poor people are not black. Most poor people are white because there are soooo many more white people in America than black people. A high percentage of black Americans are poor, but they are only a lsmall portion of our population.

    • darclyte

      Agreed. He respected Colin Powell which is why he was on his team, but the # 1 person who he trusted was Condeleeza Rice a woman who happens to be black. It was never that he didn’t care about black people, it was that he didn’t care about poor people.

    • widtap

      I would say it’s more of a classist thing. There is an assumption that everyone drives or has other assets to turn to in an emergency. That was not true for a lot of people in New Orleans. It would not be true of a lot of people in the boroughs of New York either, although NY has a better mass transit system.

      The failure is one of imagination and empathy for those with a different culture than a suburban lifestyle.

    • Mary

      You know what? You’re right! That’s absolutely right. Right on.

    • CJ

      You need to wake up. LA governor Blanco stopped Bush from helping sooner. I live in LA, and that is a fact

      • Craig

        And where was Ray Nagin?

    • DGH

      or maybe rich people would have had the means to leave and not stay in New Orleans knowing a hurricane was coming or maybe the rich wouldn’t expect the government to come and pick them up after the fact…..just sayin!!!!!

      • Karen

        If you saw the houses where they were picking up people, they had cars parked in front of them. They chose not to leave. Let the government take care of me. I lived in New Orleans. When they say “Mandatory Evacuation” anyone with sense would leave. I was not there for Katrina, but I did evacuate on previous hurricans

      • gingersmom

        The local, state, regional, and federal government were slow to act. By the time they decided on evacuation it was logistically impossible to get it done. There was a lot of misinformation and indecision.

  • Steve Bonser

    Of course all this sympathy for Bush ignores the fact that his administration didn’t do enough for New Orleans (regardless of the race of those involved) and the heartless comments made by Barbara Bush about the people living in the squalor of the Super Dome: “You know, they’re underprivileged anyway, so this — this (chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.”

    • Jane Baker

      Did Barbara Bush really say that?

      • erin

        She sure as hell did!

      • Liz in CA

        BARBARA Bush? Or do you mean LAURA? Barbara is George Senior’s wife, former first lady at the time. I can’t believe that “America’s Grandma” (even I loved her, and I’m a Dem) would say something like that. I think you mean Laura. Which shows that you probably should not make a political commentary at all.

      • Kathy

        Liz in CA: You might now understand how easy it would have been for you to check sources before being critical of others. You ARE on the internet, after all. The point of the article is regret for hasty comments – Let’s not be mean to each other.

      • T in CA

        @ Liz…..and YES IT WAS BARBARA that said that. And thanks for the clarification on who Barbara is…considering YOU didn’t even know that she made such an IGNORANT statement that was ALL over the news when she said it, please don’t try to school everyone else on who she is. That statement she made just proved exactly how far the apple falls from the tree.

      • dentonitis

        Barbara Bush did in fact say that, but she wasn’t talking about the Superdome. She was talking about the Houston Astrodome, where hundreds of Katrina evacuees were moved for temporary shelter once they finally got out of New Orleans. Still, a horrible, ignorant thing to say.

    • Jimmy H

      Wow. Can you point me to the link that verifies this or are you just a jackass?

      • u

        EW won’t allow posts that link to other websites, but if you google “barbara bush hurricane katrina quote”, you will get well over 3 million results reporting on this FACT.

      • Jimmy H

        You’re correct. (60k hits on Google by the way) I think her husband made her say that. Thus, it was Bush’s fault!

      • jon

        jimmy H I love how you just had to call someone a jackass before even checking to see if it was correct!

      • Jane Baker

        Wow. Only a lifetime of privilege and opportunity could create the ability to make such a detached statement. I suppose if Katrina had landed anywhere near Kennebunkport, Maine, the full emergency infrastructure of the United States would have already been there to greet it.

      • wow

        @Jimmy H….it must be quite an accomplishment to be a jackass and a dumbass. Good for you…

      • Jimmy Dean

        Jimmy H, it seems you are the jackass.

  • s-k-s

    I find Bush’s comment to be more telling about him than about the Kanye situation. A personal attack was the “single worst moment of your presidency?” Not the attack that killed thousands of innocent people, one of the wars you started, or any other of your mishandled adventures where hundres or thousands died? And the worst moment was someone criticizing you? No wonder this country is in the situation it is in.

    • whatevs

      How many times is this same comment going to be rehashed?

      • qman

        Its the truth. I hope its rehashed a millions times! Bush failed to do anything significant about Afganistan allowing that war to malinger for nine years for a misadventure into Iraq. But somehow buster azz Kanye is the worst moment of his presidency. I’m disgusted President Bush had the never to say that. And equally disgusted that he gave Kanye another reason to be in the spot light with his superficial response that showed not understanding of the gravity of the situation in NO. They deserve each other.

      • Dummy

        malinger is when you fake illness to get out of work or some other responsibility. If you are going to try to use big words to sound smart why don’t you try and use the right ones.

      • LB

        Whateves: Maybe it will quit being rehashed when it’s no longer offensive…so, never.

    • Jimmy H

      you are all retarded

    • Bartman

      Kanye’s comment was worse than 9/11

      Hmmmmm.

  • um…

    no*

  • HeyNow

    I think what Kanye is really saying about Bush is, Let’s talk about me instead.

    • Marion43

      Spot on!

    • hermon

      This is mindwashing. The message is that being ‘Racist’ at any level is terrible. sorry, but a little racism is what this, or any country needs to survive. Amen, good fences make good neigbors and there is no global need to to create a noahs ark/tower of badel here is my country. Last time I checked, the world is doing fine and has not sunk into the sea. So I think chinamen should stay in china, africans can stay in africa and there is no need, nor has there ever been a need for diversity for
      White people to prosper. I don’t need low paid slaves from the 3rd world today or tomorrow. This new corp-america is about what’s good for foreigners, imagrants and profits. but nothing for the native son.

      • Jgirl

        @hermon

        I will assume that you are Native American? After all, everyone else is an immigrant to the United States. White folks actually came well after the aboriginals and the Hispanics, you know…
        I will also assume that you didn’t get past 6th grade:
        It is called ‘brainwashing’, and it is the ‘Tower of Babel’ you are referring to. China and Africa should both be capitalized, and immigrants should be spelled correctly if you are going to make ignorant statements about immigration.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    I think class was shown by all in this situation. Bush has shown to be a classy former president, refusing to speak out against the current president (unlike others).

    Kanye is willing to admit here the criticizing Bush’s slow response to Katrina is one thing (and something that really does deserve harsh criticism) but calling him a racist for it is something else entirely.

    Look at the oil spill mess that was happening during the Obama administration. The Feds were slow to respond there too but was the idea of racism brought up? No.

    Maybe slow federal response has little to do with race and more to do with red tape…

    • Jimmy H

      No , wrong! It is Bush’s fault. The oil spill and the floods this year were also Bush’s fault. The mail bombs and something that may or may not happen in the future is also Bush’s fault. The next recession even if it happens years and years from now will also be Bush’s fault. the fall of the Roman empire= Bush’s fault

      • Archie

        Heh! Very good.

      • ha!

        Your mom was Bush’s fault…

      • nunnya

        LOL. I have a headache. That’s Bush’s fault too.

      • gingersmom

        After Homeland Security was formed, FEMA was moved under their control. It doesn’t have the autonomy that it use to have which reduces it’s effectiveness. Also, Bush appointed a friend of his, who didn’t have any experience or qualifications for the job, to head FEMA. So, yeah, it was his fault. Racist? I don’t know. Stupid? Definitely. He’s like the modern day Warren G. Harding.

    • Archie

      Your comments are well-reasoned and insightful. Thank you! Sadly, they have no place on this board.

      • Nerwen Aldarion

        Awww thanks!!

    • Michael

      If Bush fits your version of “classy”, I’d hate to see your real life version of “uncouth”. Yikes.

  • Ellison

    Wow,race is an issue in American and will continue to be for a long time the election last night proved that. Kanye’s new album will sell well because it’s good music. Just because you Larry David dont understand it doesn’t make it evil.

    • Craig

      And how was it proof about race. Just because white people voted for a conservative agenda, they are racist. There are other races that voted GOP. Michael Steele, a black, is the GOP chairman. Are you now going to call him an Uncle Tom? The more people start using the race as a reason, the less chance we are going to have a racial healing. There are white racists and there are black and brown racists. There is enough to go around. To me, a white male, Al Sharpton is one of the most influencial black racists. He is always in the middle of a race issue and he isn’t trying to heal the situation, he is mostly trying to make a name for himself over it. MLK would never of pulled the stunts that Sharpton does.

      • Nerwen Aldarion

        You’re also forgetting about Rubio, Sandoval and Martinez (the is the first female hispanic governor in American history) all of them are from hispanic heritage.

        The racist card for Republicans is really looking worn out

  • stepfordwife.com

    Wow, this guy will do anything to get into the media spotlight. Kanye needs Katrina to get attention, Taylor Swift sells a million a week.
    Priceless.

    • SJ

      A former president mention him in his memoir. Obviously Kanye is going to get attention for this.

  • somchai

    W went to New Orleans 13 times after Katrina to check on things and help out. BHO has been there ONE time. Doesn’t BHO have more compassion than W? Or do ya think it could be because Looisiana went for McCain in the election and has a Rep governor?

    • Karate Pants

      I was going to try to explain the significance of a President assessing an active disaster versus visiting the area years later, but then I noticed your “BHO” garbage and realized I’d be talking into the wind(bag).

      • Vanitas

        Yea, because obama going to a fundraiser 30 minutes from a disaster area in RI and not going there makes him any better? When the Gov of RI was pleading for federal help. At least Bush has an excuse, the Gov of Louis. wouldnt allow bush to send aid before the storm thinking he would be able to handle it. Then took days before allowing federal help. Get your facts straight.

      • nunnya

        Actually the Gov of Louisana during Katrina was a she. Her name is Kathleen Blanco, but you are getting somewhere with your point. There were lots of mistakes at the local level during Katrina.

  • LG

    Long before Katrina Bush quietly began began efforts to end Aids in Africa. I was not a Bush hater nor was I a supporter, but I must mention that before Katrina, Bush had begun and continues to be one of the strongest activists trying to end Aids in Africa. Look it up… Kanye really was way off base during Katrina.

    • Vanitas

      the funny thing… Obama has reduced the amount going to that cause then tried to say at a rally that he gives more than bush did.

    • gingersmom

      Bush has done good work to help with the AIDS epidemic in Africa. A lot of politicians will jump on that bandwagon. Even Jesse Helms voted for legislation on this issue. But why not AIDS in the US. Simple, it’s a largely heterosexual disease in Africa, while it’s still viewed as a mostly gay mans disease here. Heterosexual african americans contraction is growing faster than any other demographic. Admittedly there are millions infected in Africa but lets not forget about our fellow citizens just because of how they contracted it.

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