Ice Cube has received considerable backlash for reaching out to President Donald Trump and his 2020 campaign. This week he appeared on Hot 97 with hosts Ebro Darden, Peter Rosenberg, and Laura Stylez to explain his actions, saying that his goal was not to collaborate with Trump, but to start a conversation about changes he felt needed to be made for the enrichment of the Black community.
Cube told the hosts during the Oct. 21 sit-down that much of the condemnation he received was based on the assumption that he had colluded with Trump and thrown the full weight of his support behind Trump’s plan for Black Americans. He asserted that his expectations and the Trump campaign’s were completely separate.
“If you really think that I was tricked, duped, or whatever … people spent their entire weekend breaking down Trump’s plan to people, trying to talk s–t about me,” he said. “And so, people gotta look at what they did to pump up the man’s plan. I never in my life said anything about his plan until I had to come out and defend the truth.”
He said that while he is a registered voter who has voted Democrat “in every election,” he is noncommittal to either candidate in this year’s election, because both sides are “lacking.”
“I’m a real true undecided voter because they’re not doing enough,” he said.
When asked if Trump’s ambivalent acceptance of white supremacists would discourage him from sending a vote the president’s way, he stated, “I’m not supporting Donald Trump.”
Cube elaborated, explaining that he felt both parties were complicit in aiding and abetting these racist groups to some degree.
“White supremacy do turn me off, but it’s everywhere, and it’s on both sides of the aisle,” he continued. “That’s just the reality that we live in, and I’m not naive to that. We’re engulfed in white supremacy, so that’s just something we’re gonna have to fight our way out of.”
In response to the idea that implicating both parties was a cop-out, he replied,”It’s not a cop-out, it’s the reality of the situation we find ourselves in.” He continued to say that in order for real change to happen, more collaboration needs to take place with whomever happens to be in charge.
In July, Ice Cube released his Contract with Black America, which is a listing of mostly government policy proposals aimed at helping African-Americans that he wants political candidates to pledge to adopt in exchange for getting the Black vote. This month, the Trump campaign announced his Platinum Plan, a $500 billion package purportedly aimed at helping Black Americans. Cube said he contacted some Democrats who were initially interested in the plan but did not get back to him. However, the Trump campaign contacted him.
Following the communication from the Trump campaign, they connected, and their plan was adjusted to come closer to his proposals, the campaign and Cube himself claim. Afterward, Trump 2020 senior adviser Katrina Pierson shared a tweet thanking Cube for supposedly assisting Trump with his plan.
“Shoutout to @icecube for his willingness to step up and work with @realDonaldTrump Administration to help develop the #PlatinumPlan,” she wrote in an Oct. 14 tweet. “Leaders gonna lead, haters gonna hate. Thank you for leading!”
Cube responded on Twitter the same day, saying: “Facts: I put out the CWBA. Both parties contacted me. Dems said we’ll address the CWBA after the election. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA.”
When asked by the Hot 97 hosts on Wednesday how he felt about Pierson’s tweet, Cube’s tone had shifted. “You know, to me it’s politics,” he said. “Of course it’s a little shady, because it was misleading, but it’s politics.”
About the backlash over what to many appeared to be his at least tacit endorsement of Trump, he said, “I knew it was going to come out eventually, but I think I was there for a bigger cause so I wasn’t really concerned about that. I knew once the truth got out, and people heard what I said, they would understand what happened.”
Cube told Hot 97 that while he is not a Trump enthusiast, he believes that it is critical to have a direct relationship with the Trump campaign to influence the Platinum Plan, as the current administration’s actions have not been favorable to the Black community.
It’s not entirely clear what Ice Cube sees in the Trump plan that comes close to his own proposals. Cube appeared on Roland Martin’s online show “Unfiltered” show on Oct. 15 and was pressed by the host on this point.
“What’s in their plan that they actually took from yours?” Martin asked. “Because I’ve gone through their plan line by line, and to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t see even what’s in the plan they released that even mirrors what’s in yours.”
Cube answered, “Well, like I said, both plans between both parties are lacking. You have to look at the Contract with Black America and see where the overlap is.”
Martin, who apparently was ready for that reply, said, “But your contract lists these 13 different points here. And again, in their plan, what do you see in the platinum plan that they released that mirrors anything that’s in yours?”
After Cube took a long look away from the camera as if at a computer screen and haltingly replied, “You know, you got, if I’m looking at it, agreeing to direct VC [venture capital] money to Black investment companies up to 40 billion dollars” — an apparent reference to the Platinum Plan’s “up to $40B in government funding” — and paused, Martin continued to explain how the Trump campaign’s “adjustments” to its plan don’t seem to come close to any of Cube’s proposals.
“You see a lot of people have been talking about this $500 billion, that’s not going to Black people,” the host said. “In fact, that’s just actually the infrastructure funding program, that’s not actually $500 billion going to black people.”
When Cube quipped, “How many billion is the other one giving to Black people?” Martin explained to the rapper that he had missed the point:
“No, no, no, no, what I’m saying is that’s not even — they list this thing under Black economic empowerment and access to capital, it says ‘seek infrastructure funding that will lead to widespread growth in the annual $500 billion federal contracting opportunities.’ That line right there is not for Black people. That’s federal contracting opportunities for everybody. So that’s not — they’re trying to make it sound like ‘Oh, $500 billion to Black people. It’s not. That’s the actual annual program overall for everybody.”
By this week, questioned somewhat less rigorously by the Hot 97 hosts, Ice Cube appeared to be sticking to the idea that he had engineered some tangible concession from the 45th president.
“Your country is coming apart,” he declared about Trump to Hot 97. “It’s coming apart at the seams, it don’t work. It’s not fixed. It’s not great again. You wanna fix that? You gotta fix the Black issue.”