Former President Donald Trump has been roundly criticized for having dinner this week with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist leader and Holocaust denier.
Trump hosted the pair at his home Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., the former president confirmed in a post on Truth Social. Downplaying the encounter, he said the rapper, now known as Ye, “unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about."
“We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport,” Trump posted.
According to Trump, Ye asked him for business advice and the two “got along great.” He said Ye “expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson.’
“Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes,” he added. Fuentes is known for his antisemitism and attended the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Ye's net worth recently declined precipitously by billions of dollars after Adidas cut ties with him for his “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous” offensive comments. He frequently posts antisemitic and racist remarks and, earlier in the month, tweeted that he planned to go “Death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”
The Justice Department has labeled Fuentes a “white supremacist.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, Fuentes has “jokingly” denied that the Holocaust ever happened, and has “compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven.”
In a video posted after the meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Ye said Trump “is really impressed with Nick Fuentes.” (He also said he had asked Trump to run as his vice president in the 2024 race.)
Trump now faces intense criticism over the meeting. Without naming Trump, Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), told the Washington Post, “We strongly condemn the virulent antisemitism of Kanye West and Nick Fuentes and call on all political leaders to reject their messages of hate and refuse to meet with them.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, told the New York Times, “Nick Fuentes is among the most prominent and unapologetic antisemites in the country. … He’s a vicious bigot and known Holocaust denier who has been condemned by leading figures from both political parties here, including the R.J.C.” Greenblatt called the idea that “any serious contender for higher office” willing to meet with Fuentes and “validate him by sharing a meal and spending time is appalling.”
Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and onetime Republican presidential candidate, wrote of the meeting: “This is just awful, unacceptable conduct from anyone, but most particularly from a former President and current candidate.”
David Friedman, Trump’s former ambassador to Israel, tweeted: “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.”
Max Miller, a former Trump aide who received an endorsement from Trump and is now a congressman-elect in Ohio, tweeted that Fuentes’s “brand of hate has no place in our public discourse."
One Trump adviser quoted in the Washington Post described Trump's meeting with Ye and Fuentes as “horrible,” while another adviser called it “totally awful.”
NBC News reported that a longtime adviser described the situation for the Trump campaign as “a f***ing nightmare.” "If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here's another reason why,” the adviser reportedly said.