Donald Trump has long boasted about his facility with the art of the deal. So when it was revealed in 2019 that the former reality TV star-turned-one-term-president was personally getting involved in trying to help A$AP Rocky get sprung from jail in Sweden after the rapper was jailed following a street fight and detained during an official investigation, you’d think that was great news for the MC born Rakim Mayers.
“I kinda was scared that Trump was going to f— it up,” Rocky says in the documentary Stockholm Syndrome — which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday night — according to Rolling Stone. “But then on the other hand, I’m just like, ‘That’s what’s up, man.’” Rocky describes being in a kind of daze when he heard that the Celebrity Apprentice prez was taking on his cause.
“I’m sleeping in my halfway dream,” Rocky says in the doc. “I heard my name. I kind of opened my eyes and closed my eyes again and then they said my name again. And I opened my eyes and I’m like, ‘Yo, what the f—?’” Trump also shows up in the film, bragging about the “many, many members” of the Black community who called him asking if they could help the “F—in’ Problems” rapper.
“I personally don’t know A$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, in the end, 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 says of the attempt to help from a Trump team that reportedly included son-in-law Jared Kushner and the State Department’s top hostage negotiator in what Yahoo! reported was a bid to raise 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 makes an appearance in the movie, explaining that she and estranged husband Kanye West alerted Trump to Rocky’s situation, leveraging ‘Ye’s longtime friendship with his fellow MC and her recent dip into justice reform and studying to take the California bar exam. “So I was compelled to reach out to the White House and call my contacts over there to see what we can really do,” she says.
The film uses never-before-seen footage and audio excerpts from the trial, in which Rocky was freed despite being found guilty of assault. Given what amounted to a suspended sentence, Rocky flew home and returned five months later for a show in Sweden, even as reports bubbled up that the Trump administration was peeved about not getting a thank you.
“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,” Darrell Scott, a pastor and member of Trump’s executive transition team said he told the rapper’s manager in 2019, according to the Yahoo! Life report.