The White House has condemned former President Donald Trump for meeting at his Florida estate with a prominent white supremacist and rapper Kanye West, who is embroiled in a storm over anti-Jewish remarks.
Trump acknowledged having dinner with West, who legally changed his name to Ye, on Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago and said he brought along friends, one of whom was Nick Fuentes, an outspoken anti-Semite and racist.
“I didn’t know Nick Fuentes,” Trump posted on his Truth Social account late Friday.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates condemned Trump’s meeting with Fuentes.
“Bigotry, hate, and anti-Semitism have absolutely no place in America – including at Mar-a-Lago. Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned,” Bates told CNN on Saturday.
President Joe Biden, who is spending the holiday weekend in Nantucket, dodged a question about Trump’s dinner by saying: “You don’t wanna hear what I think.”
Fuentes is a Holocaust denier whose YouTube channel was permanently suspended in early 2020 for violating the platform’s hate speech policy.
Trump announced his plans in mid-November to seek reelection in 2024, and his embrace of a white nationalist unsettled some of his onetime administration officials.
David Friedman, who was Trump’s former ambassador to Israel, blasted the dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
“Even a social visit from an anti-Semite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable,” Friedman said in one of several tweets.
“Anti-Semites deserve no quarter among American leaders, right or left,” he said.
Axios, a news website, cited what it said was a source familiar with the dinner as saying Trump “seemed very taken” with Fuentes, even though he didn’t seem to know anything about his background.
Ye has lost major brand partnerships with the German sportswear company Adidas and US retailer Gap over recent anti-Jewish statements and associations with hardliners.