(JTA) — Former President Donald Trump hosted white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, two figures who have made repeated antisemitic statements, at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday night, Axios reported.
After the report was published, Trump said in a statement on Friday to Axios that West, now known as Ye, came over for a dinner meeting and brought with him another guest who had not been invited.
“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump said. “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
The dinner meeting places Trump, who a week ago announced a 2024 White House bid, in direct contact with two prominent figures who have unapologetically promoted antisemitism in recent months. West’s Twitter account was recently restored after being blocked over a series of antisemitic comments, including a threat to go “death con 3” on the Jews, that cost him lucrative sponsorship deals. Fuentes, who has been labeled a “white supremacist” by the Justice Department and first gained prominence after participating in the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017, said in June that “Jews stood in the way” of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The news of the dinner is likely to spark widespread condemnation and renew concerns about right-wing extremism in the Republican party.
In a video posted to Twitter, West claimed that Trump was “really impressed” with Fuentes because “unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.”
West, who has said he is running for president in 2024, also said in an earlier Twitter post that he asked Trump at the dinner to be his running mate. In the video, West claims Trump started “screaming” at him over the idea of running for office and told him he would lose.
Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, said he was granting “amnesty” to an array of far-right figures who had previously been banned. Extremism watchdogs say antisemitism is flourishing on Twitter under Musk’s control.