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Republican leaders denounce Trump's dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes

Nick Fuentes (center) greets supporters before speaking at a pro-Trump march on Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington. Fuentes, who has been labeled a white supremacist and antisemite by the Anti-Defamation League, sat down for dinner with former President Trump and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, last week.
Jacquelyn Martin
/
AP
Nick Fuentes (center) greets supporters before speaking at a pro-Trump march on Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington. Fuentes, who has been labeled a white supremacist and antisemite by the Anti-Defamation League, sat down for dinner with former President Trump and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, last week.

House and Senate Republicans are speaking out against former President Donald Trump's dinner last week with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.

"There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. "And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States."

Earlier in the day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy denounced Fuentes, who is labeled as a white supremacist pundit and organizer by the Anti-Defamation League, in language similar to McConnell's, though he stopped short of condemning the former president.

"I don't think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party," McCarthy said. "I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn't know who he was."

When a reporter pointed out to McCarthy that the former president only denied knowing Fuentes — not condemning his ideologies — McCarthy responded, "Well, I condemn his ideology, it has no place in society; at all."

The former president dined with Ye and Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last Tuesday, where, according to Ye's official Twitter account, the rapper asked Trump to be his running mate for the 2024 presidential race.

Trump, who recently announced his 2024 presidential bid, took to his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday to try and clear the record. He said in a post that Ye had requested the meeting for "advice concerning some of his difficulties," noting that he doesn't know Fuentes.

Pence also strongly denounced the dinner with Fuentes

The leaders' reactions to the dinner came a day after former Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump should apologize for even sitting down with Fuentes.

"Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and Holocaust denier a seat at the table," Pence said in an interview with News Nation Now. "And I think he should apologize for it, and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification."

Pence, who is mulling his own presidential run, also noted that he doesn't believe Trump is an antisemite.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.