USA: Trump responds to Mar-a-Lago dinner criticism

After hosting a controversial dinner with infamous white supremacist and outspoken antisemite Nick Fuentes on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at his Mar-a-Lago home, former US President Donald Trump is still receiving criticism. Trump, who recently declared his intention to run for president in 2024, has since confirmed the dinner and tried to distance himself from Fuentes, claiming he had no idea who the man was.

Tuesday, November 22, Trump hosted dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort and home in Florida for Kanye West, three additional guests, and Fuentes. West has made multiple antisemitic remarks recently, prompting major companies to cut relations with the rapper worth billions of dollars. West has also declared that he will run for president in 2024. Trump still had dinner with him.

After being recently unbanned by the social media platform run by Elon Musk, West later shared a video “debrief” of the dinner on it. In the video, West states that Trump was “very impressed” by Fuentes and talks with disgraced far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos, who the rapper apparently wants to lead his presidential campaign. West characterized Fuentes as a “loyalist” in contrast to “so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign.” According to NBC News, Fuentes is giving West campaign advice.

One of the most well-known young white nationalists in the United States is Fuentes, 24. He often supports and expresses antisemitic and racist conspiracy theories, including the denial of the Holocaust. He also organises the annual America First Political Action Conference, a gathering of white supremacists. Additionally, he is a fervent fan of Trump who participates in Trump’s Truth Social platform, was active in the “Stop the Steal” movement after Trump lost the 2020 election, and attended the riot at the Capitol on January 6. Fuentes participated in the tragic Unite the Right white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Following the event, Trump made headlines by praising the attendees as “very fine people.”

Trump is now adamant that he didn’t know Fuentes or have any knowledge of him. Kanye West has a strong desire to visit Mar-a-Lago. Kanye and I had planned to have dinner alone, but he showed up with a visitor I had never met and had no knowledge of, Trump stated in a statement on Friday. Later on, he revealed via Truth Social that West:

“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.”

Since then, Trump associates are said to have brought up the fact that one of the three visitors, Karen Giorno, who oversaw his 2016 presidential campaign in Florida, was someone Trump knew for sure.

In another message posted to Truth Social later Friday, Trump added:

“Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, was asking me for advice concerning some of his difficulties, in particular having to do with his business. We also discussed, to a lesser extent, politics, where I told him he should definitely not run for President, “any voters you may have should vote for TRUMP.” Anyway, we got along great, he expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on “Tucker Carlson.” Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes.”

Donald Trump and Kanye West stand together in the lobby at Trump Tower on Dec. 13, 2016 in New York City. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Unnamed Trumpworld individuals reported that throughout the meeting, Trump truly didn’t seem to know who Fuentes was. These sources spoke with Axios, Politico, and the New York Times thereafter. Giorno stated that she was unaware of Fuentes’ identity while asserting that she didn’t overhear any antisemitic or racist remarks during the dinner when speaking to the Washington Post. (Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green also asserted that she was unaware of Fuentes’ existence after speaking at the America First Political Action Conference in February.)

Here’s how Giorno recounted Trump’s conversation with Fuentes, per the Post:

“Trump was quickly impressed by Fuentes and peppered him with questions, Giorno said. “He was impressed with Nick and his knowledge of Trump World,” she said. “Nick knew people and figures and speeches and rallies and what surrounded the Trump culture, particularly when it came to the base.” Additionally, Trump wanted to discuss his campaign, his announcement speech, potential opponents for 2024, and how he planned to win. According to Giorno, Fuentes informed Trump that he liked it best when the candidate was feisty and spontaneous, especially when it came to his acceptance speech. Giorno claimed that Trump frequently discussed his supporters and young voters. Trump enjoyed Fuentes, according to a second source who attended the dinner because he flatters him and feeds his most pugilistic inclinations.

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Olivier Noudjalbaye Dedingar

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