Former US president Donald Trump’s antisemitism envoy and the Orthodox Union condemned Trump on Monday for meeting Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.
Trump acknowledged having dinner with West on Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago and said he brought along friends, one of whom was Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and racist.
Trump claimed he did not know Fuentes.
Elan Carr, who was the Trump administration’s special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, slammed his old boss for the meeting.
“No responsible American, and certainly no former president, should be cavorting with the likes of Nick Fuentes and Kanye West,” Carr tweeted.
“To placate antisemitism is to promote antisemitism. President Trump must condemn these dangerous men and their disgusting and un-American views,” he said.
No responsible American, and certainly no former President, should be cavorting with the likes of Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. To placate antisemitism is to promote antisemitism. President Trump must condemn these dangerous men and their disgusting and un-American views.
— Elan Carr (@ElanSCarr) November 28, 2022
Also speaking out was the Orthodox Union, an umbrella Orthodox Jewish group, which said that Trump’s
meeting with “some of the most vicious antisemitic figures in this country is deeply worrisome.”
“We call on former president Trump to condemn these individuals and cut ties with them and their associates. As a major public figure, Donald Trump has a responsibility to denounce hate in all of its forms and lead by example for his many followers. Anything less gives a stamp of approval to the world’s oldest hatred,” the group said.
The organization called on “responsible leaders — especially those in the Republican party” to speak up and “be counted among those who explicitly reject antisemitism.”
Fuentes has questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust and asserts that Israel has a malicious influence on US policy. His YouTube channel was permanently suspended in early 2020 for violating the platform’s hate speech policy. He attended the racist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 that led to an insurrection at the Capitol.
Fuentes produces the “America First” podcast, which he has used to accumulate a large following known as the “Groyper Army.”
West, who now goes by Ye, has repeatedly attacked, mocked, and threatened Jews in recent weeks. He lost major brand partnerships with the German sportswear company Adidas and US retailer Gap over recent antisemitic statements, and associations with extremists.
Trump, in a series of statements Friday, said he had “never met and knew nothing about” Fuentes before he arrived with West at his club. But Trump also did not acknowledge Fuentes’s long history of racist and antisemitic remarks, nor did he denounce either man’s defamatory statements.
The White House and some Republicans, including Trump’s former ambassador to Israel David Friedman, blasted the ex-president for his meeting with West and Fuentes.
The Zionist Organization of America also lashed the former president over the meeting, only weeks after presenting him with its Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion.
Trump wrote of West on his social media platform that “we got along great, he expressed no antisemitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson.’” He added, “Why wouldn’t I agree to meet?”
The former president has a long history of failing to clearly condemn hate speech. During his 2016 campaign, Trump waffled when asked to denounce the KKK after he was endorsed by the group’s former leader, saying in a televised interview that he did not “know anything about David Duke.”
In 2017, in the aftermath of the deadly white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump was widely criticized for saying there was “blame on both sides” for the violence. And his rallies frequently feature inflammatory rhetoric from figures like Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke earlier this year at a far-right conference organized by Fuentes.