Republicans Rip Trump's Dinner With 'Racist Antisemites'

Trump loyalists and critics of the ex-president weighed in after dined with a white nationalist and Holocaust denier over the weekend.
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Some Republican senators on Monday criticized former President Donald Trump’s meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.

Rebukes to Trump’s dinner with the two men came from all corners of the Senate Republican conference ― from Trump’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill to some of his most outspoken critics.

“That’s just a bad idea on every level. I don’t know who was advising him on his staff, but I hope that whoever that person was got fired,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters on Monday.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), another member of GOP leadership, said, “I think it’s ridiculous he had that meeting. I think it’s ridiculous.”

Fuentes, a right-wing political extremist, proudly espouses racist and antisemitic views. He has denied the Holocaust and he attended the “Unite the Right” neo-Nazi rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Ye made a number of antisemitic comments earlier this year, earning him suspensions on social media platforms.

Over the weekend, Trump confirmed the dinner took place but claimed he had no idea who Fuentes was. He also claimed that Ye said nothing antisemitic as the men dined.

Trump’s decision to break bread with an avowed white nationalist even had his loyalists on Capitol Hill speaking out.

“There’s no room in the Republican Party for white supremacists and antisemitism, so it’s wrong,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said of the dinner. “I think Republicans should all condemn white supremacy and antisemitism.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), meanwhile, called Ye “disturbed” and Fuentes “evil,” adding that Trump shouldn’t have met with Fuentes because it “legitimized” him.

And Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), another Trump supporter, said there are “a lot of other people I would think [Trump] could have met with to help the country be stronger and go in the right direction.”

The most fulsome condemnations came from outspoken Trump critics and those who broke with him before, including Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Cassidy is notable in that his statement directly called out Trump by name, unlike some other prominent Republicans, who offered mealy-mouthed criticisms.

Cassidy was one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump for inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The senator doesn’t face reelection until 2026, giving him more freedom to speak out than other elected GOP officers.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) also denounced the dinner on Monday. Trump “never should have had a meal or even a meeting with” Fuentes, she told NBC News.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called the meeting “disgusting.”

“There’s no bottom to the degree which he’s willing to degrade himself, and the country, for that matter,” he added.

Trump announced his 2024 campaign for president earlier this month, with mixed reaction from Republican officials across the country.

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