(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump dined this week at his Mar-a-Lago resort with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West who’s been criticized for recent anti-Semitic remarks, and a white supremacist who accompanied him.
Karen Giorno, a former senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, confirmed that she had dinner on Tuesday with Trump, Ye and Nick Fuentes, one of the most prominent white nationalist leaders in the US. An additional person she didn’t know also attended, she said.
The visit drew criticism from a White House spokesman who said anti-Semitism has no place in America, “including at Mar-a-Lago.” David Friedman, who was Trump’s ambassador to Israel, called the visit by West and Fuentes “unacceptable,” adding “you are better than this.”
Trump posted on his Truth Social site that he dined Tuesday with Ye and that the rapper “unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about.”
The former president said Ye had asked “for advice concerning some of his difficulties, in particular having to do with his business. We also discussed, to a lesser extent, politics, where I told him he should definitely not run for president, ‘any voters you may have should vote for TRUMP.’ Anyway, we got along great, he expressed no anti-Semitism.”
Trump added: “Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes.”
Fuentes is well known as the founder of the America First Foundation, which he says on the organization’s website was inspired by Trump and advocates for “conservative values based on principles of American Nationalism, Christianity, and Traditionalism.”
The New York Times reported that Fuentes is a Holocaust denier who, in his podcast, has recently called for the military to be sent into Black neighborhoods and demanded that Jews leave the country.
Despite his overt racism and anti-Semitism, Fuentes has built ties to some Republican Party figures. Fuentes’ annual America First Political Action Conference has in the past been attended by Republican Representatives Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Adidas AG and other companies have cut ties with Ye in recent weeks after he made a series of anti-Semitic and racist remarks, including saying on Twitter that “I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.”
“Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America -- including at Mar-a-Lago,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said by email. “Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Trump to “disavow Nick Fuentes and his anti-Semitic bigotry,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, said in a statement denouncing the meeting.
The House Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol announced in January that it had subpoenaed Fuentes and far-right figure Patrick Casey for testimony related to their promotion of false claims about the 2020 election and calling for the destruction of the Republican Party.
Trump announced on Nov. 15 that he’s running again for president in 2024, even after some Republicans blamed him for the Republican Party’s disappointing results in the midterm elections because candidates he endorsed in key races were considered too extreme by voters.
(Updates with criticism by White House, former ambassador starting in third paragraph.)
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