At the close of a week in which top Republicans roundly denounced former President Donald Trump’s dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and increasingly antisemitic rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has notably remained silent.
As of early Friday evening, DeSantis had not weighed in on the stunning meeting, and two spokespeople did not return requests for comment Friday. Instead, DeSantis appeared on Fox News cable host Tucker Carlson’s program and blasted Apple regarding its work in China, and attacked the communist regime there for its false claims about COVID-19 and its handling of growing protests.
The silence from DeSantis might not have drawn as much attention if he wasn’t viewed as Trump’s main competitor for the Republican nomination in 2024. GOP leaders in Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence, among others, condemned the dinner this week, stating that antisemitism and racism don’t belong in the Republican Party.
And the stunning escalation, particularly from Ye, has kept the issue front and center. But DeSantis, who helped build his reputation by appearing regularly on national cable television and inserting himself into national debates, like when he flew migrants in Texas to Massachusetts, seems to be avoiding the issue.
Fuentes, a far-right media figure who rose to prominence during Trump’s time in office, and who has pushed racist theories alleging that minorities are replacing white Americans, gave a nod to DeSantis this week while discussing his dinner with Trump. But Fuentes said he would support his other dinner partner, Ye, for president.
Meanwhile Ye spewed more and more antisemitic attacks this week as the issue exploded in the news.
In the wake of Ye’s increasing radicalism, social media staff for the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee deleted a tweet from October this year praising Ye, after the music star went on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s program covered in a black mask and said, “I like Hitler.”
Shortly after praising Hitler, Ye tweeted an image of a swastika and was suspended from Twitter by new CEO Elon Musk.