In implied rebuke to Trump, GOP slams Kanye West and Nick Fuentes for antisemitism

Republican Party resolution names rapper and white supremacist as it opposes ‘all forms of antisemitism,’ but doesn’t explicitly mention US ex-president who invited them to dinner

Then-US president Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 11, 2018. (SEBASTIAN SMITH / AFP)
Then-US president Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 11, 2018. (SEBASTIAN SMITH / AFP)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Republican Party unanimously condemned antisemitic Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, saying their beliefs have no place in “any political discourse.”

The official resolution passed on Friday at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting represents an implied rebuke to former US president Donald Trump, who recently dined and consulted with the men, but does not mention him.

The resolution opposes “all forms of antisemitism, antisemitic statements and any antisemitic elements that seek to infiltrate the Republican Party.” It names West, the rapper, and designer now known as Ye, saying he “has repeatedly made statements that are antisemitic, shameful, wrong, offensive, bigoted, and contrary to American and Republican principles.” It also names Fuentes, noting that he is a white supremacist.

Trump dined with West and Fuentes in November, not long after West launched a barrage of antisemitic statements on social media and interviews. Fuentes has long been known as an antisemite and a Holocaust denier.

“Resolved, that the Republican National Committee affirms antisemitism has no place in our political party, American politics, or any political discourse,” the resolution said.

Trump did not apologize for the encounter, even though it drew rebukes from some of his closest Jewish associates. Trump said West was an old friend in crisis, and that West brought along Fuentes, whom Trump claimed not to know and whose antisemitism he condemned.

Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Michigan, November 11, 2020. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News via AP)

Politico, which first reported planning for the resolution, said it was conceived by Shawn Steel, a national committeeman for the RNC. “I want to create a standard for all political parties in America, that we don’t tolerate bigotry, and in this particular case, antisemitism,” he told Politico.

The resolution also targeted a number of Democrats that Republicans see as antisemitic, in part because of their harsh criticism of Israel and in at least three cases, their endorsement of the boycott Israel movement.

The resolution reflects the party’s growing ambiguity about the former president. Trump was seen as the party leader until November when the GOP performed poorly in midterm elections it was expected to sweep. The party blamed losses on Trump’s obsession with the false claim that he won the 2020 election, and on the poor performances of candidates, a number of them eccentric, whom Trump had endorsed.

Trump is still seen as a force to reckon with; he is the sole declared Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election. But there is a greater willingness to move on from his legacy. A number of candidates once close to Trump are signaling they will soon announce their own presidential runs, including three with deep support among Jewish conservatives: former vice president Mike Pence, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

The RNC confab reelected Ronna McDaniel as its chairwoman, although it has underperformed since she assumed the role in 2017. McDaniel is seen as close to Trump, a factor that helped her fend off challenges and a signal of his continuing influence. Lee Zeldin, a Jewish Republican who served in Congress and just lost an unexpectedly close race for New York governor, briefly considered challenging McDaniel.

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