Donald Trump’s political bruises in response to his meeting with one of America’s most prominent racists only got worse because of his reluctance to take advice from his own advisers and condemn the man’s views, according to a new report.
The protector reported Monday that in the hours and days following his meeting with Kanye West, Mr Trump’s advisers implored him to convict Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist and anti-Semite famous in far-right circles and loathed by the left for his oft-espoused racist and anti-Jewish views. Mr Fuentes attended Mr West’s meeting with the former president at Mar-a-Lago, along with another highly controversial figure: Mr West’s campaign manager, ex-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter for racist tweets about comedian Leslie Jones.
But despite that advice from his closest allies, Mr. Trump’s statements, in which he attempted to distance himself from Mr. Fuentes, only claimed that the former president did not know who Mr. Fuentes was before the meeting.
“Kanye West really wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “Our dinner meeting was supposed to be just Kanye and me, but he arrived with a guy I’d never met and knew nothing about.”
It is just the latest example of Mr Trump unwilling to violently rebuke and rebuff his most fringe supporters of the racist far right – the most famous example being in the days following the Charlottesville riot due to the Unite the Right rally where neo-Nazis and other openly racists clashed with counter-demonstrators and a woman was killed when a person who had espoused Nazi beliefs rammed his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians. Trump would later blame the deaths and violence on both sides of the conflict.
At the meeting, Mr. Trump told Mr. West that the latter’s 2024 presidential bid was a mistake, according to Mr. West, who said he had asked the former president to be his running mate.
Mr. Fuentes, meanwhile, heaped praise on the former president, according to media reports about the dinner, urging him to get off the teleprompter more often.
In the days following the rally, Mr. Trump has been loudly criticized by the left and more sheepishly condemned by the right, with occasional allies such as the Republican Jewish Coalition and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemning the very idea of the rally. while explicitly avoiding mentioning Mr. Trump’s name or often the exact circumstances of the Mar-a-Lago rendezvous.
A number of likely or potential 2024 rivals for the GOP nomination — with the exception of former New Jersey governor Chris Christie — have kept completely quiet on the matter, likely hoping the media frenzy will pass. Among them are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
Reporters, meanwhile, have been wondering what this means for the general scene in Mar-a-Lago. The perception of Mr. Trump’s Florida estate is of a porous public club environment where many unscreened individuals have access to the former president and his family, something that would typically be seen as a security nightmare for a current or former president. An additional layer to the discussion is the recent seizure of presidential records, some classified, from the residence after they were kept in apparent defiance of the National Archives.