Jared Kushner: I spoke with Kanye West, but not about the Donald Trump campaign

WASHINGTON – White House adviser Jared Kushner said Thursday he spoke recently with rapper Kanye West – but not about any plan to have West run for president in order to help father-in-law Donald Trump win re-election.

"We had a general discussion, more about policy," Kushner told reporters.

Kushner said he and West "both happened to be in Colorado" at the same time last weekend, and got together because "he has some great ideas for what he'd like to see happen in the country. And that's why he has the candidacy that he's been doing."

Democrats described the Kushner-West meeting as the latest piece of evidence that Trump's re-election team is helping the famed producer and recording artist get on as many state ballots as possible.

The idea, they said, is that West would draw African-American voters away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden, helping Trump prevail in closely contested states.

"This is a desperation ploy because they know they can't win in a head-to-head contest," said Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson.

Democrats have also cited local news reports that Republican operatives have helped West's aides put together ballot petitions in Wisconsin, Colorado and other states.

Senior Advisor Jared Kushner listens to President Donald Trump on Thursday.

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Trump and members of his re-election team have denied collusion with West and his makeshift presidential campaign.

Kushner and West have described each other as friends for years, and worked together on criminal justice issues.

West, who announced his candidacy by tweet on July 4, has said both supportive and not-so-supportive things about Trump over the years. He has also sent conflicting signals about the seriousness of his third-party presidential bid.

After a media report on his latest meeting with Kushner, West tweeted that "I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York Time about my meeting with Jared where we discussed Dr Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics."

At the White House, Kushner said of West: "There's a lot of issues that the president's championed that he admires, and it was just great to have a friendly discussion."

So far, West has qualified for the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Vermont.

The deadlines for other states have already passed, including battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina.

West's attempts to get on the ballot in Wisconsin, a key battleground, are being challenged because of questions about the identities of some of the petition signers.