Democrats, anti-racist groups and some Republicans have condemned Donald Trump for having a dinner with American white supremacist and anti-semite Nick Fuentes after details of their encounter at the former US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida emerged.
The meeting is the latest in a long line of incidents involving the former US president and the far right, including once referencing the Proud Boys in a presidential debate and his comments that there were “very fine people on both sides” after 2017 clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one anti-fascist protester dead.
Trump has admitted he met Fuentes – who is open about his extreme racist and anti-semitic views on his podcast – during a dinner with Kanye West, the rapper now known as Ye. Trump said he did not know Fuentes was going to be present at the dinner and had no idea who he was. “[Ye] unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” Trump said.
One person present at the dinner, however, said that Trump was impressed by Fuentes. “He was impressed with Nick and his knowledge of Trump World. Nick knew people and figures and speeches and rallies and what surrounded the Trump culture, particularly when it came to the base,” Karen Giorno, a former Trump aide and senior adviser, told the Washington Post.
The meeting was roundly condemned.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League which campaigns against bigotry and antisemitism, condemned Trump’s meeting with Fuentes and expressed shock at the development.
“Nick Fuentes is among the most prominent and unapologetic antisemites in the country,” Greenblatt told the New York Times. “He’s a vicious bigot and known Holocaust denier who has been condemned by leading figures from both political parties here.”
Democrats joined in the criticism. Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement that the move should see Trump – who recently announced a 2024 White House run – barred from representing the Republican party.
“If it was any other party, breaking bread with Nick Fuentes would be instantly disqualifying for Trump. The most extreme views have found a home in today’s Maga Republican party,” Moussa said.
Some Republicans too joined in the chorus of condemnation.
“This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican party in 2024,” said Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey, who may also run in 2024 and has become a critic of Trump, despite being a close former ally.
David Friedman, who served as Trump’s ambassador to Israel, tweeted disapproval of the meeting with both Fuentes and Ye, who has also recently made antisemitic comments that have seen him lose a raft of valuable corporate endorsements.
“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 tweeted.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, also slammed Trump.
“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,” Brooks told the Washington Post.