Former Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that Donald Trump was “wrong” to have dinner with him recently. White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West at his Florida resort and that the former president should apologize for it.
“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize for that. And he should speak out against these individuals and their hateful rhetoric wholeheartedly,” Pence said. says NewsNation in a clip released Monday night.
Trump “exercised profoundly poor judgment in giving these people a seat at the table,” he said, adding that he did not believe Trump was “a racist or bigot.”
Trump faced a swift backlash from members of his own party after welcoming Fuentes and West to his Mar-a-Lago estate last Tuesday. The meeting took place a week after the former president announced that he seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Pence, who has also been considered a potential Republican nominee for 2024, has spoken widely favorably of Trump’s policies and his time in his administration, but he broke with the former president over his handling of the 6 attack. January 2021 in the United States. Capitol. He told CNN at a town hall in November that Trump’s words and tweet on Jan. 6 “were reckless” and that he believes there will be “better choices” in 2024 than Trump.
Pence’s comments join a chorus of intense criticism aimed at Trump in recent days.
Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson called the meeting with the two figures on Sunday ‘very disturbing’ and ’empowering’ for extremism.
“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea for a leader who is setting an example for the country or the party to meet (a) outspoken racist or anti-Semite. And so it’s very troubling and it shouldn’t happen and we need to avoid that kind of accountability from the extremes,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “You want to diminish their strength, not empower them. Stay away.
Hutchinson, who is term-limited and leaves office in January, is currently considering a run for the White House in 2024.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reacting to news of the meeting, told CNN on Monday that Fuentes “is a purveyor and spreader of an evil, of poison,” and added of West, “I don’t not know, but the guy is had problems.
When asked if Trump should convict Fuentes, Rubio replied, “I hope he does. Because I know he’s not anti-Semitic. I can tell you it’s a fact that Trump isn’t but this guy (Fuentes) is evil. And this guy is just a mean, disgusting person. He’s a shitty clown.
GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, meanwhile, fiercely condemned Trump for hosting the group.
“You know, I think it’s disgusting to invite people like that to meet a former president of the United States. I think there is – clearly there is no bottom to the extent to which President Trump will degrade himself and the nation,” Romney said.
When asked if Trump should apologize, Romney replied, “He doesn’t. He never sees anything wrong with anything he does, so it’s characteristic of his approach, which is either to say it was a joke or to say he didn’t know what was going on. But it doesn’t fly, of course. It’s something that frankly degrades him, to do what he did. And this is something that also diminishes the country. It’s too bad.
CNN previously reported that Trump was engaged to Fuentes and found him “very interesting” over dinner, according to a source familiar with Fuentes’ abilities to produce statistics and data, and his familiarity with Trump’s world. . At one point during dinner, Trump said he “liked” Fuentes.
The Anti-Defamation League has identified Fuentes as a white supremacist and he has been banned from most major social media platforms for his white nationalist rhetoric. Fuentes was present on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and promoted Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the 2020 election. West found himself embroiled in his own controversy after repeating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and made other offensive claims last month.
Trump acknowledged the dinner in an article on Truth Social on Friday, writing, “Last week Kanye West called me for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly after, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We dined on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. Dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.
Trump repeated later Friday that he “didn’t know” Fuentes and had offered business to the West as well as political advice.