Donald Trump dines with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and hip-hop artist Ye at Mar-a-Lago

Comment

Former President Donald Trump dined with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and hip-hop artist Ye at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., earlier this week and drew intense criticism for associating with two people , which has promoted anti-Semitism and hatred.

Trump’s advisers privately acknowledged that the decision to host Tuesday’s dinner, just a week after Trump launched his re-election bid, was a significant concern. One counselor described it as “terrible” and another as “absolutely horrible.” They and others in Trump’s inner circle spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

David M. Friedman, who served as his ambassador to Israel, publicly took Trump to task for being with the troubled couple, tweeting that the former president was “better than this.”

The private dinner is the latest example of how the former president has courted people with extreme or racist views. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, recently lost billions of dollars in net worth after companies cut ties with him for repeatedly making anti-Semitic remarks. Fuentes, a political commentator on YouTube, has a history of espousing white nationalist ideas.

Yes posted a video Thursday to Twitter, where far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos listens to the rapper recap his Tuesday meeting with Trump. The rapper who has said he plans to run for president in 2024, said he asked Trump to be his running mate. Trump was uninterested, Ye said, but he was “really impressed” with Fuentes.

“Nick Fuentes, unlike so many of the lawyers and so many of the people that he stood with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist,” Ye, who returned to Twitter this week after a recent ban, said in the video.

Trump said he only planned to have dinner with Ye, who has repeatedly expressed his support for the former president. The rapper brought Fuentes uninvited, Trump said.

“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” the former president said Friday on Truth Social. “Soon after, he turned up unexpectedly with three of his friends, of whom I knew nothing.”

“We had dinner Tuesday night with many members present on the back patio,” Trump added. “Dinner was quick and uneventful. They then went to the airport.”

Trump has insisted to aides since Tuesday that he did not know Fuentes, a Trump supporter active on Truth Social, the former president’s social media network, although some in his circle said they were skeptical.

Karen Giorno, a former Trump aide who ran the then-candidate’s 2016 Florida campaign before becoming a senior adviser, said she arrived at the club in a car with Ye and Fuentes. She said she did not know Fuentes previously and met him earlier in the day for the first time. The group came together before security, she said.

A person familiar with the matter said Fuentes was not on the list but got in because he was a guest of the rapper.

“There’s no system now where he’s not president. If you’re on the list, you can drive up to the gate and for someone like Kanye West, he’ll bring his staff or other people with him into the club,” this person said . “No one checks carefully.”

Giorno said Trump greeted the trio: I, Fuentes and another man she knew only as Jamal, alone with no staff or family in the club’s lobby, and “graciously” told the rapper that his group should join him for dinner at his usual table on the terrace. They were served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – not on the menu – with Ye getting an extra helping of stuffing.

She said Trump “obviously” recognized her and the rapper, but didn’t seem to recognize Fuentes at first. A person familiar with the dinner said West introduced the 24-year-old as “Nick.”

Giorno said she sat to the right of the president, while the rapper sat to his left, and Fuentes and another guest, Jamal, a Boeing employee who engaged Trump with talk of airline contracts, sat across the table, she said. The rapper took pictures with many members of the club, she said.

Fuentes, host of YouTube’s “America First” show, grew up Catholic in the Chicago suburbs before dropping out of Boston University. Since then, he has become popular among young conservatives who are critical of establishment Republicans for not taking hard lines on cultural issues. Fuentes attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where a white nationalist killed an anti-racism protester, but has denied being a neo-Nazi or white nationalist. He has expressed concern on his show that the American population is becoming less white, and has previously argued that “dramatic and radical change” will bring “not insignificant consequences, and not all of them good.”

Giorno said she did not hear Ye or Fuentes say anything that could be construed as anti-Semitic or racist, but Fuentes did share his opinion about the former president’s re-election campaign. Trump was quickly impressed by Fuentes and peppered him with questions, Giorno said.

“He was impressed with Nick and his knowledge of Trump World,” she said. “Nick knew people and figures and speeches and rallies and what surrounded the Trump culture, especially when it came to the base.”

And Trump wanted to talk about his campaign, including those who would run against him in 2024, his announcement speech and how he would win. Fuentes told Trump he preferred when he was on fire and off the cuff, especially as it related to his announcement speech, Giorno said. Trump repeatedly talked about his base and young voters, Giorno said. Another person familiar with the dinner said Trump liked Fuentes because he flattered him and encouraged his most pugilistic instincts.

“Did the president and Nick have a casual conversation about his previous presidency, the advertising and the style and the voting and the prospects of other people getting into the primary and what the young people thought of him? Yes, they did,” Giorno said.

The casual dinner — which included comments about celebrities, American politics and more — became heated when Trump “started talking negatively” about Kim Kardashian, Ye’s ex-wife, Giorno said.

Tensions also rose when the rapper asked Trump to join his 2024 ticket for vice president, which he declined.

One person familiar with the dinner said it was “hearty until it wasn’t.” Trump became loud and animated, the person said. “Everybody was paying attention,” the person said.

“It was strenuous,” the person said, wrapping up after about two hours. “It ended cordially but tensely,” the person said.

Trump’s dinner with the two men drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a political group that supports Jewish Republicans, challenged the former president and other political leaders to distance themselves from Fuentes and Ye.

“We strongly condemn the virulent anti-Semitism of Kanye West and Nick Fuente and call on all political leaders to reject their messages of hate and refuse to meet with them,” Brooks told The Post on Friday.

This is what the former president who “befriends” Ye and Fuentes says, tweeted rep. Ritchie Torres (DN.Y.) Friday. “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are,” Torres wrote.

Even some of the president’s usual allies were publicly critical of the meeting, including his former ambassador to Israel.

In a tweet referencing “my friend Donald Trump”, Friedman wrote: “Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to throw out those bums, reject them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.”

Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment