Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a thinly veiled criticism of Donald Trump days after the former president — who recently launched his 2024 campanha for the presidency — had a private dinner with rapper Kanye West and white supremacist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Without naming the former president, and without prompting by reporters, McConnell said in a Tuesday press conference: “There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy, and anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”
McConnell’s remarks come one week after Trump hosted West — who has seen dozens of companies cut ties with him in the wake of making antisemitic comments on social media and in interviews — and Fuentes, a 24-year-old livestreamer who has been labeled a “supremacia branca” by the U.S. Justice Department.
Axios cites a source who said “there was a lot of fawning back and forth” between the former president and Fuentes, who made headlines in 2017 for attending the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virgínia, and whose YouTube channel was permanently suspended for violating the company’s hate speech policy.
Days after the dinner was publicized, Trump issued a statement claiming he didn’t know who the Holocaust denier was — but he refrained from repudiating the white supremacist or his views.
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform four days after the dinner. “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.”
McConnell’s remarks come after others in the Republican party also spoke out against the dinner — albeit, without going so far to say they wouldn’t vote for Trump in the future because of it.
“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table,” former vice president Mike Pence said in a Monday appearance on NewsNation, Axios relatórios. “I think he should apologize for it and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification.”
Pence added that he didn’t believe Trump himself is a “racist or a bigot,” but that he “demonstrated profoundly poor judgment in giving those individuals a seat at the table.”
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It’s not the first time Trump has made headlines for his relationship with white nationalists. Seguindo o 2017 Unite the Right Rally that Fuentes attended, Trump publicly made a much-criticized comment defending those who had been at the event — despite that attendees were filmed carrying torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
“You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” Trump said in 2017, days after the rally and counter-protests in which one woman died. “The press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”
“You also had some very fine people on both sides,” ele adicionou.