Prominent Republican lawmakers on Monday condemned former President Trump’s dinner last week with two men who have expressed virulently antisemitic views.
Trump had dinner last week at his Mar-a-Lago compound with the rapper Kanye West, now legally known as Ye, and far-right media figure Nick Fuentes.
Fuentes became a white supremacist activist shortly after Trump was elected president in 2016. He said in 2017 that “a tidal wave of white identity is coming,” he has cast doubt on whether the Holocaust took place, and he has said that the era of Jim Crow segregation and racial terrorism against Black people in America was “better for them.”
Many Democrats and former Republican lawmakers, as well as conservative publications such as the Wall Street Journal, have already castigated Trump for taking a meeting with Ye and Fuentes. Trump, who has said he’s running for president again in 2024, has denied knowing who Fuentes was prior to their dinner.
“So I help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye, who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed ‘advice,’” Trump wrote over the weekend on his social media platform Truth Social.
Trump then referred to Fuentes and another dinner guest as people he “didn’t know.”
Republicans currently in positions of political power have largely been quiet about Trump’s dinner until Monday. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was the first nationally known Republican lawmaker to weigh in on Trump’s meeting.
“I am extremely proud that Georgia’s relationship with Israel and the Jewish community has never been stronger. Racism, antisemitism, and denial of the Holocaust have no place in the Republican Party and are completely un-American,” Kemp told a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday morning.
A little after lunch time, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., became the first Republican member of the Senate to weigh in. Unlike Kemp, Cassidy mentioned Trump by name.
“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,” Cassidy said in a statement.
Shortly after that, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told a reporter at the Capitol, “I condemn White supremacy and antisemitism. The president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes.”
More Senate Republicans are expected to condemn Trump later on Monday.