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One week after former President Donald Trump announced he would seek reelection, he dined at his Mar-a-Lago home with two men known for their racist and antisemitic beliefs: Nick Fuentes and Ye, the musician formerly known as Kanye West.
The Department of Justice identified Fuentes as a white supremacist last year. He’s a Holocaust-denier who has threatened violence against Jewish people and spread hate against Black Americans and other groups.
Ye has also been condemned for making antisemitic and anti-Black comments on social media.
The meeting drew widespread criticism from people across the political spectrum, but mostly absent were the voices of sitting lawmakers from his own party. A handful of Republicans, including outgoing lawmakers Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger condemned Trump over the weekend, but overwhelmingly the party was silent. On Monday evening, Mike Pence reportedly said that Trump should apologize for the meeting.
Other Republicans have started to respond to reporters as they’ve returned to Washington on Monday evening, calling the meeting a “bad idea” and saying antisemitism can’t be tolerated but stopped short of condemning Trump directly.
In statements, Trump claimed Fuentes was invited by Ye, and that he did not know him. The dinner is the most recent example of the former president’s long history of associating with bigoted individuals and elevating their ideas.
In response to Trump’s dinner with Fuentes and Ye, we asked every Republican Senator and every member of Republican House leadership if they thought the meeting was appropriate, and if they condemned it. We also looked through the public statements of these lawmakers to collect any reactions to Trump’s dinner.
We asked each lawmaker:
We’ll continue to follow this story and update it with any future statements.
“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn’t know who he was. [A reporter corrects McCarthy, responding that Trump never condemned Fuentes.] Well, I condemn his ideology. It has no place in society. At all. … Look, the president can have meetings with who he wants. I don’t think anybody though should have a meeting with Nick Fuentes and his views are nowhere within the Republican Party or within this country itself. … I don’t think he should associate with [Kanye] as well. I’m very clear in my position. Video
No response at publishing time.
Let me just say that there is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy. And anyone meeting people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected President of the United States.
“Well, that’s just a bad idea on every level. I don’t know who is—who’s advising him on his staff, but I hope that whoever that person was got fired.” Source
“It’s ridiculous.” Source
There is no room in the Republican Party for white supremacy and antisemitism. It’s wrong. I think Republicans should all condemn white supremacy.
“It’s ridiculous you would do something with someone who espouses those views.” Source
“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.” Source
“I condemn white supremacy and anti-semitism. The president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes.”
“It’s bad – there’s no question about it.” Source
“Clearly it’s not our view, it’s not my view, I don’t think it’s his view. But, as you know President Trump doesn’t condemn a lot of people who support him.”
“We cannot tolerate antisemitism. Period.” Source
“It’s not something I would have done. I think it’s wrong anytime you elevate comments that that person says.” Source
“It was wrong and inappropriate to have that meeting, white supremacy has no place in our nation’s culture and it’s antithetical to anything we stand for as Americans.” Source
“I think it’s been clear that there’s no bottom to the degree to which President Trump will degrade himself and the nation.” Source
“I hope [Trump] will [condemn Nick Fuentes]. Because I know [Trump] is not an anti-Semite. I can tell you that for a fact that Trump is not but this guy [Fuentes] is evil. And that guy is a nasty, disgusting person. [Fuentes] is an ass clown.” Source
“It’s unfortunate that it continually needs to be said, but of course the man who’s dedicated his career to stamping out hate and racism thinks it’s a bad idea for anyone to elevate racists or anti-Semites. Senator Scott’s vision for America is rooted in opportunity, optimism, and freedom—standing in stark contrast with the recent comments from Kanye West and the vile rhetoric of Nick Fuentes.” – Caroline Anderegg, spokesperson for Senator Tim Scott
“If the reports are true and the president didn’t know who he was, whoever let him in the room should be fired.”Source
[Trump] “could make better choices.” Source
With reporting from Ian Couzens, Tyriana Evans, Matt Loffman, Kyle Midura, and Ali Schmitz.
Laura Barrón-López is the White House Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, where she covers the Biden administration for the nightly news broadcast. She is also a CNN political analyst.
Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.
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