Former President Donald Trump distanced himself Friday from a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at his Mar-a-Lago membership in Florida with Ye, previously referred to as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, claiming he didn’t know the id of the far-right activist who was unexpectedly introduced alongside with the rapper.
“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 stated Friday in a press release on his Truth Social platform.
“We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful,” Trump stated. “They then left for the airport.”
On Saturday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates denounced the assembly. “Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America — including at Mar-A-Lago,” he wrote. “Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned.”
The president, requested by reporters for his response, responded, “You don’t want to hear what I think.”
An individual acquainted with the dinner dialog who just isn’t concerned in Trump’s presidential marketing campaign and two Trump advisers briefed on the dinner corroborated Trump’s declare that he did not know Fuentes’ id after they dined collectively. The three sources spoke on situation on anonymity given the character of the controversy.
But regardless of Trump suggesting that the occasion was “uneventful,” the fallout over his dinner with Fuentes seems to have thrown Trump’s marketing campaign into damage control mode. The former president took hours to reply publicly after a number of media shops reported that Fuentes was current on the dinner.
Even the 2 Trump advisers winced at how a Holocaust denier like Fuentes was in a position to wind up with Trump at dinner — even when it was by mistake — alongside with the rapper, who had simply had his Twitter account restored however misplaced main endorsement offers for making antisemitic remarks.
“This is a f—ing nightmare,” stated one longtime Trump adviser who spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of stoking the previous president’s ire at “disloyal” individuals who criticize him. “If individuals are taking a look at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run towards Trump, this is one more reason why.”
All three sources acquainted with the dinner informed NBC News there was one obtrusive inaccuracy in Trump’s assertion: Trump knew one of many three “friends” introduced by the rapper, Karen Giorno. She was the Trump marketing campaign’s Florida director in 2016 and the previous president is aware of her by identify and sight, the sources stated. In addition to Giorno and Fuentes, Ye additionally introduced alongside one other man who was an affiliate, in keeping with the sources.
The supply acquainted with the dinner dialog stated the dinner grew heated after Ye — who introduced one other run for president in 2024 on Thursday — requested Trump to be his operating mate. Trump then started insulting Ye’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, in keeping with the supply and a video that Ye posted to Twitter on Thanksgiving Day recounting the dinner.
The supply additionally stated Fuentes helps to advise Ye in his second presidential marketing campaign. The rapper has stated the marketing campaign can be managed by Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right provocateur and former Breitbart editor who was banned from Twitter in 2016 for inciting a racist marketing campaign towards comic Leslie Jones.
Ye, Fuentes and Yiannopoulos declined to touch upon the dinner.
Details in regards to the dinner started to emerge on Twitter Wednesday when a Politico reporter tweeted that Ye and Fuentes had been noticed at Mar-a-Lago. The conservative web site Timcast confirmed Fuentes’s presence on the dinner, adopted by Axios.
The porous nature of Mar-a-Lago, the place anybody with connections can run into Trump, has lengthy been a priority of his advisers. It’s additionally helped land Trump within the sights of a federal investigation after the FBI in August executed a search warrant on the membership in quest of paperwork marked categorized that the federal authorities says Trump mustn’t have possessed.
Trump’s assertion on Truth Social didn’t disavow antisemitism or racism, however his marketing campaign in a follow-up message pointed to Trump’s help of Israel, the Abraham Accords Middle East peace deal his administration reached and his opposition to antisemitism in Iran.
But Trump has additionally embraced antisemitic tropes and figures, implying that American Jews have twin loyalty to Israel and saying that there have been “very fine people on both sides” on the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Fuentes attended that occasion, and after Trump stated he denounced white supremacy on the rally, Fuentes denounced him for that.
In his video debrief, Ye stated that “Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes. Nick Fuentes — unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign — he’s actually a loyalist [for Trump].”
The supply impartial of Trump’s marketing campaign stated Trump had deliberate to dine privately with Ye at Mar-a-Lago’s library, however he then stated they need to eat outdoors on the general public patio. The former president additionally invited the others alongside.
The topic of racism and antisemitism didn’t come up, and Fuentes “presented as statistician. He was very knowledgeable of polls and Trump’s campaign. Trump was very impressed but Trump didn’t know who he was,” the supply stated.
Trump requested Fuentes about his 2024 announcement speech the week earlier than and Fuentes criticized Trump for being too “teleprompter” scripted and having low power, the supply stated. Fuentes and West, the supply added, additionally stated Trump ought to have issued a blanket pardon for everybody concerned within the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, which Ye’s video debrief additionally talked about.
Trump additionally talked about his adviser, Jason Miller, to Fuentes, who criticized the veteran operative for now operating the social media web site Gettr, which has banned Fuentes, in keeping with a replica of a group text message exchange that Ye posted to Twitter Thursday.
Trump’s Truth Social platform, nonetheless, has verified Fuentes as a notable consumer.
At a sure level, the dialog turned tense and Trump started making his crucial remarks about Ye’s ex, Kardashian. “That’s the mother of my children,” Ye protested, in keeping with his video debrief.
Trump then grew animated about Ye difficult him. “You’re not going to win. You can’t beat me,” Trump informed Ye, the supply stated. “Nick, you work for the guy, and just because you work for him, you’re going to tell him he can beat me? You just got finished telling me I was the best president ever.”
Ye stated in his video debrief that Trump was offended.
“When Trump started basically screaming at me at the table telling me I was going to lose, I mean, has that ever worked for anyone in history?” the rapper stated. “I’m like hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, Trump. You’re talkin’ to Ye.”