Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned former President Trump for his dinner with Kanye West and white nationalist Nick Fuentes.
“There is no room in the Republican Party for anti-Semitism or white supremacy,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “And it’s very unlikely, in my opinion, that anyone who meets people who defend that point of view will ever be elected president of the United States.”
McConnell was referring to Trump’s dinner last week with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago.
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also criticized the meeting on Tuesday.
“I don’t think anyone should be spending time with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy said. “He has no place in this Republican Party.”
McCarthy seemingly defended Trump, saying he had “come out and condemned Fuentes four times,” adding that he “didn’t know who he was.”
When pressed further on Fuentes, McCarthy said, “I condemn his ideology. It has no place in society.”
Fuentes, a white nationalist, has made racial slurs and engaged in Holocaust revisionism in the past, though he claims he does not deny the Holocaust.
The dinner, last Tuesday, took place just a week after Trump announced a 2024 presidential bid. Ye has also announced his own bid for 2024.
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Trump said in statements to TRUTH Social that he didn’t know who Fuentes was and that the purpose of the dinner was to meet Ye — who has also faced criticism for anti-Semitic comments — about business and politics.
“Last week Kanye West called me to come over to dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” he said in his initial statement. “Shortly afterwards he turned up unexpectedly with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday night with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and quiet. Then they left for the airport.”
“Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, asked me for advice on some of his issues, particularly regarding his business,” Trump said in his second statement. “We also discussed, to a lesser extent, politics, where I told him there was no way he should run for president, ‘all the voters you have should vote for TRUMP’.”
“Anyway, we got along great, he didn’t express anti-Semitism, and I appreciated all the nice things he said about me in ‘Tucker Carlson.’ Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? I also knew Nick Fuentes not,” he said.
On Saturday, a Trump adviser highlighted Trump’s track record of fighting anti-Semitism and helping Israel while in the White House.
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“From the historic Abraham Accords that brought peace to the Middle East, the withdrawal from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, the appointment of a special envoy to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism, the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. President Trump has always been and will always be the best friend and ally of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” the adviser said.
Last week, Trump described himself as “the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House” and targeted the Biden administration for allegedly wasting that work.
“Tragically, Joe Biden betrayed Israel and the Jewish community and squandered our astounding success,” Trump said in an address to the Republican Jewish Conference annual conference, adding that Biden has been “from the very beginning of the Biden administration” Israel’s security and began begging to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal on even worse terms.”
Meanwhile, Ye released a video last week saying Trump was “very impressed” with Fuentes, whom he described as a “loyalist”, and that the artist caught Trump off guard by asking him to be his vice president.
“I think that’s what Trump was most concerned about [was] I asked him to become my vice president,” Ye said in the video. I think that was lower on the list of things that caught him off guard.
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Fuentes, meanwhile said on his performance the dinner was “very interesting” and said he didn’t think Trump knew who he was.
“I don’t think he knew I was me, at dinner, let’s put it that way,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to say he didn’t know me…I’m not sure about that, but he certainly didn’t know I was me when I arrived at dinner, and I didn’t either.” mean that my statements and my entire background become some kind of public relations problem for the president.”
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The White House condemned the dinner over the weekend, with Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates telling Fox News that “bigo, hatred and anti-Semitism have absolutely no place in America — including Mar-a-Lago.”
“Holocaust denial is abhorrent and dangerous and should be strongly condemned,” Bates said.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.