Donald Trump has long boasted about his mastery of the negotiating process. So you’d think it was great news for A$AP Rocky when it was revealed in 2019 that the former reality tv star turned president was personally getting involved in trying to help the rapper get out of jail in Sweden after he was arrested following an investigation of a street fight.
According to Rolling Stone, Rocky says in the documentary Stockholm Syndrome, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday night, “I kinda was scared that Trump was going to f*ck it up.” He said, “On the other hand, I’m just like, ‘That’s what’s up, man.” Rocky says he was in a trance when he learned that Trump was supporting his cause.
“I’m sleeping in my halfway dream,” Rocky says in the doc. “I heard my name. I kind of opened my eyes and closed my eyes again, and then they said my name again. And I opened my eyes, and I’m like, ‘Yo, what the f*ck?’” Trump also appears in the doc, praising the “many, many” members of the Black community who asked him to help the rapper.
“I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky, but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country … I have been called by so many people asking me to help ASAP Rocky,” Trump says. But according to Rocky, Trump’s “help” turned out to be no help at all.
“It was a chess move, and they tried to strong-arm a lot,” he claims of Trump’s team that included son-in-law Jared Kushner and the State Department’s top hostage negotiator in a bid to improve Trump’s image with the Black community,
“You want the most support you could, and it’s like, ‘Oh, the president supports you.’ That felt good. ‘Cause, for the most part, I don’t think he ever knows what’s going on in the urban communities,” Rocky says. “I was thankful for that; I can’t lie. I was also scared that it would jeopardize me being in [jail] longer. … In reality, I had no problem saying thank you to the man, especially if he helped me. That’s the narrative they pushin’: That he got me out. And he didn’t free me. If anything, he made it a little worse.”
Kim Kardashian also appears in the documentary, revealing how she and her estranged husband Kanye West informed Trump about Rocky’s situation, leveraging Kanye’s lifelong acquaintance with the rapper and her recent journey into justice reform and preparation for the California bar exam. “I was compelled to reach out to the White House and call my contacts over there to see what we can really do,” she said.
The doc features never-before-seen footage and audio samples from Rocky’s trial, in which he was found guilty of assault but released. Rocky flew home after receiving what amounted to a suspended sentence and returned five months later for a gig in Sweden, despite allegations that the Trump administration was irritated about not receiving a thank you.
Darrell Scott, a pastor, and member of Trump’s executive transition team, said he told the rapper’s manager in 2019 that “the White House didn’t ask for anything. There were no conditions attached, but my condition … was that all I’m asking for you guys to do is say thank you.”