West offered no further details on his campaign, four months before the November election.

Kanye West answers questions from Senior pastor Joel Osteen during the 11 am service at Lakewood Church Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Houston.
Kanye West answers questions from Senior pastor Joel Osteen during the 11 am service at Lakewood Church Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP)

American rapper Kanye West, a vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump, announced on Saturday that he would run for president in 2020 in an apparent challenge to Trump and his presumptive Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

It was not immediately clear if West was serious about vying for the presidency four months before the November 3 election or if he had filed any official paperwork to appear on state election ballots.

The deadline to add independent candidates to the ballot has not yet passed in many states.

Elon Musk, the chief executive of electric-car maker Tesla and another celebrity known for eccentric outbursts, endorsed West's Twitter post: "You have my full support!" he wrote.

Presidential ambitions

West and his equally famous wife Kim Kardashian West have visited Trump in the White House.

At one meeting in October 2018, West delivered a rambling, profanity-laden speech in which he discussed alternative universes and his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which he said was actually sleep deprivation.

But in 2019, during an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music's Beats 1 show, he said his support for Trump had been a way to razz Democrats – and announced his own presidential ambitions.

"There will be a time when I will be the president of the US, and I will remember... any founder that didn't have the capacity to understand culturally what we were doing."

It was unclear to whom the artist was referring.

The announcement came days after West, who has taken a very public turn towards Christianity in recent years, released a new song, "Wash Us In the Blood," along with an accompanying video including imagery from recent anti-racism protests.

Since 2018, his wife, reality star Kim Kardashian, has formed her own contacts with the White House as she champions criminal justice reform: she has successfully lobbied Trump to pardon a sexagenarian woman for a non-violent drug offence.

For weeks now Trump, criticised for his response both to the coronavirus pandemic and to anti-racism protests, has been lagging in the polls behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

There was no immediate response to West's announcement from either candidate.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies