David M. Friedman, who served as his ambassador to Israel, publicly blamed Trump for dating the awkward couple, tweeting that the former president was “better than that.”
The private dinner is the latest example of how the former president courted individuals with extreme or racist views. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, recently lost billions of dollars in net worth after companies cut ties with him for repeatedly making anti-Semitic remarks. Fuentes, a political commentator on YouTube, has a habit of touting white nationalist ideas.
you posted a video Thursday on Twitter with far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos listening to the rapper recap his Tuesday meeting with Trump. The rapper, who announced his intention to run for president in 2024, said he asked Trump to be his running mate. Trump wasn’t interested, Ye said, but he was “really impressed” with Fuentes.
“Nick Fuentes, unlike so many lawyers and so many people he found himself with during his 2020 campaign, he is actually a loyalist,” said Ye, who returned to Twitter this week after a recent ban, said in the video.
Trump said he only planned to have dinner with Ye, who has repeatedly expressed support for the former president. The rapper brought Fuentes uninvited, Trump said.
“Last week Kanye West called me for dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” the former president said Friday on Truth Social. “Shortly after, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, who I knew nothing about.”
“We had dinner Tuesday night with many members present on the back patio,” Trump added. “Dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.
Trump has insisted to his aides since Tuesday that he does not know Fuentes, a Trump supporter active on Truth Social, the former president’s social media network, although some insiders have said that they were skeptical.
Karen Giorno, a former Trump aide who ran the then-candidate’s campaign in Florida in 2016 before becoming a senior adviser, said she arrived at the club in a car with Ye and Fuentes. She said she didn’t know Fuentes before and met him earlier today for the first time. The group arrived together after security, she said.
A person familiar with the matter said Fuentes was not on the list but entered because he was the rapper’s guest.
“There is no system now that he is not president. If you’re on the list, you can drive to the door, and for someone like Kanye West, he’s going to bring his staff or other people with him into the club,” the person said. “No one checks carefully.”
Giorno said Trump greeted the trio: Ye, Fuentes and another man she only knew as Jamal, alone without staff or family in the club lobby, and “graciously” told the rapper that his group should join for dinner at their usual table on the patio. They were served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – not on the menu – with Ye receiving a second serving of stuffing.
She said Trump “obviously” recognized her and the rapper, but didn’t seem to recognize Fuentes initially. A person familiar with the dinner said West introduced the 24-year-old as “Nick.”
Giorno said she sat to the president’s right, while the rapper sat to his left, and Fuentes and another guest, Jamal, a Boeing employee who interested Trump with talks about plane contracts, were seated across the table, she said. The rapper took pictures with many members of the club, she said.
Fuentes, host of YouTube’s “America First,” grew up a Catholic in suburban Chicago before dropping out of Boston University. Since then, he has become popular with young conservatives who criticize establishment Republicans for not taking hard stances on cultural issues. Fuentes attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville where a white nationalist killed an anti-racism protester but denied being a neo-Nazi or a white nationalist. He expressed his concern on his show about the American population becoming less white, previously saying that “dramatic and sweeping change” will lead to “not inconsiderable consequences, and not all of them good.”
Giorno said she hadn’t heard Ye or Fuentes say anything that could be considered anti-Semitic or racist, but Fuentes shared her thoughts on the former president’s re-election campaign. Trump was quickly impressed with Fuentes and peppered him with questions, Giorno said.
“He was impressed with Nick and his knowledge of Trump World,” she said. “Nick knew people, personalities, speeches, rallies and what surrounded the Trump culture, especially in terms of the grassroots.”
And Trump wanted to talk about his campaign, including who would run against him in 2024, his announcement speech and how he was going to win. Fuentes told Trump he preferred when he was fiery and off-the-cuff, especially when it came to his announcement speech, Giorno said. Trump spoke repeatedly about his base and his young voters, Giorno said. Another person familiar with the dinner said Trump liked Fuentes because he flattered him and encouraged his more pugilistic instincts.
“Did the president and Nick have a casual conversation about his former presidency, the announcement and style, the polls and prospects of other people entering the primary, and what young people thought of him? Yes, they did,” Giorno said.
The casual dinner — which featured commentary on celebrities, US politics and more — ignited when Trump “started speaking negatively” about Kim Kardashian, Ye’s former wife, Giorno said.
Tensions also rose when the rapper asked Trump to join his 2024 ticket as vice president, which he rejected.
One person familiar with the dinner said it was ‘cordon until it wasn’t’. Trump became loud and lively, the person said. “Everyone was paying attention,” the person said.
“It was tense,” the person said, and she got carried away after about two hours. “It ended cordially but tense,” the person said.
Trump’s dinner with the two drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a political group that supports Jewish Republicans, challenged the former president and other political leaders to distance themselves from Fuentes and Ye.
“We strongly condemn the virulent anti-Semitism of Kanye West and Nick Fuentes and call on all political leaders to reject their messages of hate and refuse to meet with them,” Brooks told the Post on Friday.
The former president’s “befriending” Ye and Fuentes is telling, Rep. Ritchie Torres (DN.Y.) tweeted Friday. “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are,” Torres wrote.
Even some of the president’s usual allies publicly criticized the meeting, including his former ambassador to Israel.
In a tweet in which he referred to “my friend Donald Trump,” Friedman wrote, “Even a social visit from an anti-Semite like Kanye West and a human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to kick these bums out, disown them, and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.
Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.