Donald Trump faced a new backlash after it emerged that he dined with one of America’s most prominent white supremacists at his Mar-a-Lago estate this week, just days after announcing a new bid for the White House in 2024.
According to Axios, Trump had a meal on Tuesday with Nick Fuentes, who is known for his extreme views, along with rapper Kanye West — who now goes by the name Ye and who has also stoked controversy by making anti-Semitic comments.
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website on Friday.
Fuentes, 24, is one of America’s most notorious white supremacists, who attended the pro-Trump rally that led to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 2021. He also attended the “Unite the Right” neo-Nazi parade in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. He is the founder of the America First Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of white nationalist politicians and activists, including Republican lawmakers Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
His presence for dinner at Trump’s estate comes as the former president is already facing criticism from within the Republican party for attempting another presidential campaign, especially after many of his preferred candidates lost to Democratic challengers in the midterm elections. While Republicans have been wary of criticising Trump directly, many have pointed out that the party’s control by a former president with extremist ties was damaging them politically.
After news of Trump’s dinner with Fuentes, Chris Christie, the former Republican governor of New Jersey and a possible 2024 rival, said: “This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican party in 2024.”
Later on Friday, Trump posted another message on Truth Social saying he “didn’t know” Fuentes. He said West had asked to meet to discuss business difficulties and only politics “to a lesser extent”. “We got along great, he expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on [the Fox TV programme] ‘Tucker Carlson’. Why wouldn’t I agree to meet?”