President Trump said he has received a flood of appeals to help secure the release of ASAP Rocky after the American rapper was arrested in Sweden.
“Many, many member of African-American community have called, friends of mine, and said, ‘Could you help?’” he told reporters Friday.
ASAP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was taken into custody after allegedly fighting outside a restaurant in Stockholm while on tour.
But the 30-year-old musician’s attorney said the treatment his client has received is unjust based on the circumstances, as ASAP Rocky said he was acting in self-defense after being followed by two men who would not leave him alone.
In a video posted to ASAP Rocky's Instagram, he and the men with whom he is walking repeatedly tell two men to stop following them.
“We don’t want to fight you,” ASAP Rocky says in the clip.
Another video of the incident appeared to show ASAP Rocky lifting one of the men off his feet and throwing him to the ground. While the man is down, it appears ASAP Rocky and two other men punch and kick him, a third video posted by TMZ showed.
Others have voiced their support for ASAP Rocky, including musicians including Justin Bieber and Tyler, the Creator, and elected officials such as Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a New York Democrat representing Harlem, where ASAP Rocky grew up.
Espaillat called for ASAP Rocky’s release, saying in a joint statement with other House members: “This incident serves as yet another example of the racially motivated focus and prejudices young men of color are subjected to around the world.”
Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West have also personally lobbied for the rapper’s release, while even first lady Melania Trump has voiced her concern to her husband.
“Actually the one who knows about ASAP Rocky was our first lady, right?” Trump said as he looked toward his wife. “She was telling me about, ‘Can you help ASAP Rocky?'”
When asked by Trump to give a statement on the situation, the first lady said they are working through the State Department and “we hope to get him home soon.”
A court in Stockholm on Friday approved a request from prosecutors to hold ASAP Rocky in detention for at least six more days on the grounds he was a flight risk, the New York Times reported.
Another hearing will be held July 25 to determine if he will be further detained.