Donald Trump has credited the rapper with doubling his African-American approval rating, saying: "Kanye West must have some power!"

The US president was addressing the annual National Rifle Association convention when he made reference to West's controversial support for him.

He made the comments in a patriotic speech in Dallas, Texas, in which he defended the American peoples' right to bear arms.

Before turning to the issue of gun ownership, he said: "African-American unemployment has reached another all-time-in-history record low.

"And by the way, Kanye West must have some power, because, you probably saw, I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week.

"Thank you Kanye, thank you!

my MAGA hat is signed ??????????????????????????????

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018

"When I saw the number I said there must be some mistake, how can that happen?"

He was apparently referencing a Reuters poll which showed his support from African-American men had risen from 11 percent to 22 percent between April 22 and April 29.

West has angered much of his fan base by expressing his support for Mr Trump.

The hip hop superstar unleashed a string of tweets on April 25 in which he called Trump his brother and posted an image of his signed 'Make America Great Again' cap.

:: Kanye: I'll be biggest real estate developer ever

The rapper, who has 18 million followers on the social media site, suggested in one tweet that he and Mr Trump have "dragon energy".

The president retweeted one of West's posts, and wrote: "Thank you Kanye, very cool!"

You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018

West courted controversy again on 2 May when he suggested that the centuries some African-Americans endured in slavery was "a choice".

He told the celebrity news site TMZ: "When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice."

His behaviour has disappointed other musicians and much of his fan base, as West had been regarded as an artist who championed black rights earlier in his career.

In 2005, he criticised the then-US president George W Bush over his response to Hurricane Katrina, saying: "Bush doesn't care about black people."

Video:Guns would have made Paris a 'different story'

Mr Trump's rambling speech to the National Rifle Association on Friday was also not without controversy, as he suggested that guns would have stopped the Paris terror attacks in 2015 where 130 people were killed.

He claimed that "if one employee or just one patron had a gun, or if one person in this room had been there with a gun" then "the terrorists would have fled or been shot".

The US president later turned his attention on London and said: "I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds," he said.

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"Yes that's right they don't have guns, they have knives – and instead is blood all over the floors of this hospital.

"They say it's as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives. London hasn't been used to that, they're getting used to it."

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