- The Washington Times - Friday, November 25, 2022

Former President Donald Trump is claiming he didn’t know that White nationalist Nick Fuentes was among several people, along with rapper Ye, whom he hosted for an intimate dinner last week at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

In a statement on Truth Social, Mr. Trump acknowledged that Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, invited three other associates after requesting to have dinner with the former president at his Palm Beach home. But he stopped short of naming Mr. Fuentes, in an apparent attempt to distance himself from the firebrand who has been labeled a white nationalist by the Anti-Defamation League.

“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,” Mr. Trump wrote. “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.”

The other guests, who were arranged by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopolous, included Mr. Trump‘s former Florida chief strategist Karen Giorno, according to details of the event reported by Timcast.com.

Ye, whose clothing and footwear lines were recently dropped after the Trump ally made a series of antisemitic remarks, posted a “Mar-a-Lago Debrief” to his recently restored Twitter account on Thursday in which he claimed that Mr. Trump is “really impressed with Nick Fuentes.”

Nick Fuentes, unlike so many of the lawyers and so many of the people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he‘s actually a loyalist,” Ye said in the brief video posts, in which he is seen discussing Tuesday’s Mar-a-Lago meeting with Mr. Yiannopolous.

A Holocaust denier, Mr. Fuentes attended the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Anti-Defamation League’s website describes Mr. Fuentes as “a white supremacist leader, organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said Friday of the meeting: “If it was any other party, breaking bread with Nick Fuentes would be instantly disqualifying for Trump. The most extreme views have found a home in today’s MAGA Republican party.”

Ye also said on the video that he asked the former president to be his vice president in 2024, a question that reportedly set Mr. Trump, who recently announced that he is seeking reelection, into a tirade.

“I think the thing that Trump was most perturbed about, was me asking him to be my vice president,” he said. “I think that was like lower on the list of things that caught him off-guard.”

He added that Mr. Trump “started basically screaming at me at the table telling me I was going to lose.”

“I’m like, ‘Hold on, hold on, hold on, Trump, you’re talking to Ye.’”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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