Top GOP figures and potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates spent the weekend criticizing former President Trump after reports surfaced that he had dinner at Mar-a-Lago with known white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
Trump on Saturday blamed Ye, the rapper formally known as Kanye West, for arriving to a planned dinner between the two men with three additional guests, one of whom was Fuentes.
Trump has insisted he didn’t know who Fuentes was before meeting him but several Republicans, including former members of his own Cabinet who are seen as gearing up for a potential 2024 run have voiced criticism of the meeting.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for a leader that’s setting an example for the country or the party to meet with [an] avowed racist or antisemite,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on CNN’s “State of the Union,” calling the meeting “very troubling.”
“I mean, you could have accidental meetings. Things like that happen. This was not an accidental meeting. It was a set-up dinner with Kanye. But you certainly have every occasion that the question of white supremacy or neo-Nazism, or denying the Holocaust comes up,” Hutchinson said. “You have got to be absolutely clear in your communication that this is not acceptable dogma, it’s not acceptable conversation, it’s not acceptable history, and you have to disavow it.”
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the likely next chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said on Sunday that Trump “needs better judgment in who he dines with” and that he wouldn’t personally take a meeting with either Fuentes or Ye.
Fuentes is a white supremacist and outspoken antisemite who has denied the Holocaust. He is the leader of the alt-right American First movement and participated in the rallies that led to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. He was eventually subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating that day.
The New York Times and Axios on Friday were among the first to report the meeting, which occurred on Tuesday with Fuentes, Trump and Ye.
On Saturday, Trump blamed Ye for bringing Fuentes, reiterating that the meeting was supposed to be only between only the former president and the rapper. Trump called West a “seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black” that he was trying to help after several companies severed ties with Ye following his own antisemitic comments.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another rumored 2024 contender who is seen as potential Trump challenger, didn’t weigh in on the dinner directly, but took to Twitter after news broke to call anti-semitism “a cancer” and say he stands with Jewish people.
Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Twitter called Ye an antisemite and labeled Fuentes “human scum.”
“To my friend Donald Trump, you are better than this. Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong,” Friedman said.
The former ambassador added that he condemned former President Obama for associating with controversial religious leaders Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright.
“This is no different. Antisemites deserve no quarter among American leaders, right or left,” Friedman said.
The dinner adds to evidence that Trump is “an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024,” Christie told the New York Times.