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Trump says he had ‘no idea’ what Fuentes’s views were amid GOP backlash

The Hill logo The Hill 11/30/2022 Zach Schonfeld
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Former President Trump told Fox News he “had no idea” what white nationalist Nick Fuentes’s views were when they dined at Mar-a-Lago last week.

Trump has faced a firestorm of criticism after the dinner with Fuentes, who was labeled a white supremacist by the Justice Department and has repeatedly made antisemitic comments, and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who has also come under recent controversy for antisemitic comments.

“I had never heard of the man — I had no idea what his views were, and they weren’t expressed at the table in our very quick dinner, or it wouldn’t have been accepted,” Trump told Fox News Digital of Fuentes.

The former president in the interview also hit back at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who condemned Trump earlier in the day.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy and anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, [is] highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States,” McConnell told reporters at his weekly press conference. 

McConnell, whose relationship with Trump soured after McConnell recognized Joe Biden as president-elect in December 2020, was one of multiple GOP senators to slam Trump for the dinner upon returning to Washington this week.

“Mitch is a loser for our nation and for the Republican Party who would not have been re-elected in Kentucky without my endorsement, which he begged me for because he was going down,” Trump told Fox News. “His well-financed opponent had $93 million ready to spend when I drove him from two points down to 21 points up in a matter of days.”

A McConnell spokesperson declined to comment about Trump’s attack, deferring to the senator’s earlier remarks.

When asked about what sparked the dinner, Trump told Fox News that Ye had “asked to see me for advice” and Trump heard he was experiencing “financial difficulties.”

After making a string of antisemitic posts, Ye lost partnerships with multiple major brands, including Adidas.

“Nobody has to prove or be defensive of me and Israel,” Trump told the outlet. “They have acknowledged that I’m the best friend and president to Israel.”

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