MIAMI, Florida — Former President Donald Trump unequivocally denounced Nick Fuentes and other antisemites in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News here on Friday, saying “nobody” who has “the wrong and ill will about people” has a place in the America First movement or the Republican Party.
Trump, who had just given remarks to the annual Orthodox Jewish gathering of the Torah Umesorah President’s Conference here at his Doral golf resort, sat for an exclusive interview with Breitbart News after the speech.
At the start of the interview, Breitbart News asked him, as the leader of the party and the movement, whether the views of Fuentes have any place in the GOP or the America First movement.
“No, they don’t,” Trump replied plainly.
Trump had come under fire late last month for, in the days before Thanksgiving, dining with Fuentes and rapper Kanye West at his Mar-a-Lago a couple hours north of here in West Palm Beach. West brought the openly white nationalist Holocaust denier Fuentes as well as Milo Yiannopoulos and former Trump aide Karen Giorno to the dinner. Trump later issued a statement making clear he did not know who Fuentes was when West brought him to the dinner, and made it clear he was meeting with West at West’s request because the rapper has run into some serious problems as of late business-wise with major companies dropping deals with him.
Trump’s initial statements in the immediate aftermath of the dinner lacking a clear condemnation of the antisemitism, racism, and Holocaust denialism of people such as Fuentes drew the ire of many of his critics inside the party, including his former Vice President Mike Pence, who called on him to be more explicit, as did others including House and Senate GOP leaders Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell.
Trump and West have been friends for many years, since long before Trump ran for president the first time in 2016 — and so that is why, despite West’s recent troubles, the former president would seek to help out an old friend. West had been making a number of antisemitic comments before and after the dinner with Trump.
Trump, in his interview with Breitbart News, expanded upon the circumstances of what happened for the first time in-depth in an interview since the events unfolded. In these comments, Trump made clear he did not know until after the dinner that West himself had recently made a series of antisemitic remarks. Trump also attacked the media for their coverage of the dinner, saying they “shouldn’t have” made “a big deal over” it.
“Very importantly, I didn’t know him [Fuentes] and I never heard of him,” Trump told Breitbart News. “Kanye—I knew Kanye. Kanye was very nice to me and very respectful of me. Kanye went on Tucker Carlson and said Trump is the greatest guy — I’m the only one he mentioned — and so Kanye called, and he needed some help and advice. I agreed to that. He brought a group of people along. One of the people was this one. How would I know what Kanye’s views of the world are? I didn’t do a study of Kanye. I didn’t do a study as to what he thinks of a certain race or a certain religion or anything else. I think it was a very good meeting from the standpoint of we discussed a lot of things, but this wasn’t even discussed. This was not a subject or red-flag subject. Then, I only heard a day or two after that that he had said some very negative antisemitic remarks. But he didn’t say anything negative at all about anything in terms of antisemitic during that dinner. The dinner was a quick dinner. The dinner went very quickly and then they went off and then I found out who the other one was. There were other people too. One was a real estate person, and one was a person in politics who everybody knew, well-known and respected. The fake news media made a big deal over something, and they shouldn’t have done that.”
Asked again to be sure that he meant Fuentes’s views — and anyone else espousing antisemitism or Holocaust denialism or racism—do not have any place in the America First movement or the GOP, Trump stated it explicitly that they do not.
“No, they don’t. Nobody does that has the wrong and ill will about people,” Trump said. “We don’t want ill will. But again, it was very unfairly covered. It was very, very unfairly covered.”
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