Donald Trump recently had dinner at his Florida property with White supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and artist Kanye West. According to former Vice President Mike Pence, this was “wrong,” and Trump should apologize.
“President Trump erred in granting a seat at the table to a White nationalist, an antisemite, and a Holocaust denier, and I believe he should apologize for it. And he ought to condemn those people and their awful rhetoric unequivocally,” Pence said in a recording made available to NewsNation on Monday night.
He added that he does not think Trump is “a racist or a bigot,” but that Trump “demonstrated extremely terrible judgment in allowing those individuals a seat at the table.”
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Trump hosted Fuentes and West at his Mar-a-Lago home on Tuesday, and he quickly came under fire from members of his own party for the decision. A week after the former president declared he will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, the two men met.
Pence, who has also been speculated to run for president in 2024 on the Republican side, has generally praised Trump’s policies and his time in office, although he disagrees with the former leader on how he handled the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Trump’s remarks and tweet from January 6 were “reckless,” he told CNN in a town hall in November, and he thinks there will be “better choices” in 2024 than Trump.
For a former President to have dinner with an antisemite who’s embraced everything from white nationalism to Holocaust denial is disgusting and dangerous.
All should condemn him giving an antisemite even the smallest platform—much less a dinner audience.https://t.co/rlgV4DdDbB
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 28, 2022
The dinner “should not have happened,” argued Jason Greenblatt, who held the position of White House Middle East envoy under the Trump administration, in an opinion piece for CNN published on Monday. Period.”
“I hope President Trump denounces Fuentes, West, and people of like caliber for being anti-Semites and opponents of the founding principles of the United States of America. Fuentes and others like him pose a threat to the US. The Jewish Greenblatt added, “President Trump that I know would recognize that and offer this rebuke. Haters like Fuentes and West shouldn’t be allowed a platform or a seat at the table, regardless of how or why the dinner occurred, anyone.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said on Monday that Fuentes “is a purveyor and a spreader of an evil, poison” in response to hearing about the meeting. He also said of West, “I don’t know him, but the guy’s got some problems.”
When asked if Trump ought to denounce Fuentes, Rubio responded, “I hope he will. I know he’s not anti-Semitic, therefore I can say with absolute certainty that Trump is not wicked, but Fuentes is. And the guy is just a foul, revolting individual. He is a nutcase.
Once again, Trump exposes his comfort with antisemitism and unabashed racism. While I appreciate the condemnations from certain Republican leaders, the silence from others has been deafening. https://t.co/tKCXeLMD5W
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) November 26, 2022
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a member of the GOP, harshly criticized Trump for having welcomed the group.
“You know, I think it’s repulsive to bring someone like that to a meeting with a former US president. The level to which President Trump will humiliate himself and the country has been made quite evident, in my opinion, Romney stated.
Romney responded when asked if Trump ought to apologize: “He doesn’t. He never sees anything wrong with anything he does, so his strategy is to either deny what happened or claim he had no idea what was going on. But obviously, that isn’t a good idea. To do what he has done is something that, to put it bluntly, diminishes him. Furthermore, it devalues the nation as a whole. It’s really too bad.
The meeting between the two individuals, according to Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, was “extremely worrisome” and “empowering” for extremism.
“No, I don’t think meeting with an openly racist or antisemitic person is a smart choice for a leader who is setting an example for the nation or the party. On “State of the Union,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash, “It’s very problematic and it shouldn’t happen, and we need to avoid those kinds of empowering the extremes.” Instead of giving them more power, you want to lessen it. Don’t go near it.
Hutchinson, whose tenure is up in January, is considering running for president in 2024.
According to a person with knowledge of the event, CNN earlier reported that Trump was conversing with Fuentes and thought he was “extremely interesting” because of his propensity for quoting facts and figures and his familiarity with Trump’s world. During the meal, Trump made a statement to the effect that he “liked” Fuentes.
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Fuentes has been labeled a White supremacist by the Anti-Defamation League, and because of his White nationalist statements, he has been banned from the majority of major social media networks. On January 6, 2021, Fuentes was on the grounds of the US Capitol, promoting Trump’s unfounded allegations of election fraud in the previous year. After repeating antisemitic conspiracies and making other unpleasant remarks last month, West became himself in his own controversy.
In a post on Truth Social on Friday, Trump acknowledged the meal, writing: “This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. He surprisingly turned up a little while later with three of his unknown friends. On Tuesday night, many members joined us for dinner on the back patio. Dinner went by quickly and without incident. After that, they headed to the airport.
Later on Friday, Trump reiterated that he “didn’t know” Fuentes and that he had given West both political and commercial advice.
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