A$AP Rocky‘s (Rakim Mayers) arrest and incarceration in Sweden have been cited in testimony given as part of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s alleged Ukrainian dealings.
During Rocky’s trial, Trump was a vocal champion of the #FreeRocky campaign. And during Mayer’s incarceration, Melania Trump reassured the press, “we’re working with the State Department, and we hope to get him home soon.”
….Our teams will be talking further, and we agreed to speak again in the next 48 hours!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2019
In his statement to House impeachment investigators on Friday, David Holmes, who worked at the United States Embassy in Kiev, testified that Trump was told by European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland that Rocky “should have pled guilty.”
Rather than using diplomatic channels to bring the rapper back to the US, Trump was allegedly advised to “let him [Rocky] get sentenced.” Trump could then “play the racism card” once Mayers was sentenced. Then the president could “give him a ticker-tape when he comes home.”
Per Holmes's testimony, Sondland advised Trump to let the A$AP Rocky thing go for a bit but then "play the racism card":
"… Let him get sentenced, play the racism card, give him a ticker-tape when he comes home." pic.twitter.com/F0HfZOx72b
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 16, 2019
According to the testimony, Sondland allegedly said that Sweden “should have released him on your word.”
Sondland reportedly noted that even if Trump was unable to secure Rocky’s release, he could “tell the Kardashians you tried.” Kardashian reportedly lobbied Trump’s advisor, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who passed the rapper’s story on to the president.
Although the president refrained from taking credit for the rapper’s release in August, he continued to insert himself into the narrative and align himself with #freerocky.
A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
Rocky declined to publicly thank Trump following his return to the US. According to Vanity Fair, members of Trump’s executive team found it “embarrassing” to inform Kushner that “they’d had no meaningful contact with Rocky after his release” and that Rocky’s manager eventually stopped ‘returning our text messages’ altogether.”
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THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART TO ALL OF MY FANS, FRIENDS AND ANYONE ACROSS THE GLOBE WHO SUPPORTED ME DURING THESE LAST FEW WEEKS I CANT BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW GRATEFUL I AM FOR ALL OF YOU THIS HAS BEEN A VERY DIFFICULT AND HUMBLING EXPERIENCE I WANT TO THANK THE COURT FOR ALLOWING ME BLADI AND THOTO TO RETURN TO OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL OF THE LOVE AND SUPPORT