Trump Mar-a-Lago Guests Raise Eyebrows
Trump Mar-a-Lago Guests Raise Eyebrows
You may have entertained some interesting guests during the Thanksgiving holiday — maybe long-lost relatives, or new friends, or people with whom you disagree politically. But former president Donald Trump entertained two people who have made even his ardent supporters say: What the hell, man?
On Tuesday night, Trump entertained Kanye “Ye” West, who brought Nick Fuentes as his guest. Unless you run in alt-right circles, you may not have heard of him. But he’s the poster boy who plays right into the hands of progressives who want to destroy Republicans.
Fuentes is 24 years old, an anti-Semite and one of the far right’s most outspoken voices. He runs “America First,” a white supremacist young adult group which calls itself the “Groyper Army,” whose mascot is the cartoon “Pepe the Frog.”
He has also denied the Holocaust. Plus, on recent podcasts Fuentes has demanded that the military be sent into Black neighborhoods, and has called for the expulsion of Jews (where have we heard that before?)
In November of 2020, after the election, Fuentes addressed a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, DC, urging his followers to “storm every state capitol until Jan. 20, 2021, until President Trump is inaugurated for four more years.” He and his Groypers rallied outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to support Donald Trump, and later called the Capitol riots “awesome and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t.” Meantime, several members of his America First group have been charged with federal crimes connected to the attack.
Nick Fuentes has made inroads into Republican circles, attracting the attention of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Gosar also spoke at the “America First Political Action Conference” in February, 2021, which Fuentes hosted.
So this is the person whom Donald Trump entertained at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. That’s in addition to “Ye,” who has expressed anti-semitism of his own.
As the cliché goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
Trump advisers are spinning, at a loss for why Trump would meet with those two. “This is a f—ing nightmare. If people are looking at DeSantis to run against Trump, here’s another reason why,” said one adviser.
What added fuel to the fire was what Ye said in a video debrief:
“Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes. Nick Fuentes — unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign — he’s actually a loyalist [for Trump].”
To make matters worse, a source reported that Trump and Fuentes spent the evening fawning over each other. At one point, Trump turned to Ye and said, “I really like this guy. He gets me.”
However, the source also said “To be honest, I don’t believe the president knew who the hell [Fuentes] was.”
And Trump himself went full Sgt. Schultz, claiming in a statement that he didn’t know anything about Fuentes:
“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. 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.”
Here’s why that statement is bullshit.
First of all, Fuentes has a long track record of making racist remarks, often using Twitter. We also know that Trump would use the site almost daily.
In 2019 Trump supporter Benny Johnson created a long Twitter thread in which he showed his followers what scum Nick Fuentes is. Johnson brought damning receipts to the thread.
Conservative Guy Benson also condemned Fuentes in 2019:
“‘Groyper’ leader on segregation: “Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? ‘Oh, I had to drink out of a different water fountain.’ Big f—ing deal…oh no, they had to go to a different school…And even if it was bad, who cares?…it was better for them, it’s better for us.”
‘Groyper’ leader on segregation:
“Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? ‘Oh, I had to drink out of a different water fountain.’ Big f—ing deal…oh no, they had to go to a different school…And even if it was bad, who cares?…it was better for them, it’s better for us.” pic.twitter.com/ZJ7LqpTHgL
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 18, 2019
Plus, in January 2021, Yair Rosenberg of The Atlantic provided a video in which Fuentes denied the Holocaust:
“This is Nick Fuentes. He is a white supremacist anti-Semite. That’s not Twitter hyperbole, just a straight-up description. Here he is smilingly denying the Holocaust.”
This is Nick Fuentes. He is a white supremacist anti-Semite. That's not Twitter hyperbole, just a straight-up description. Here he is smilingly denying the Holocaust: pic.twitter.com/qJkhASjW6I
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) June 29, 2021
Even more incriminating is the fact that another of Ye’s guests was Karen Giorno. Giorno was the 2016 Trump campaign’s Florida director, someone whom Trump knew by name and sight. So why didn’t she alert the former president as to whom he was entertaining? Did she assume that he already knew Fuentes? Or that his presence would be no big deal?
Besides, even if — and that’s a big if — Trump didn’t know who Nick Fuentes is, Ye has been on the hot seat for his outrageous anti-Semitic comments. That should’ve sounded the alarm bells in Trump’s head about those optics.
But perhaps the most damning issue here is this: What kind of security is at Mar-a-Lago? Who vets these people? And how secure were those documents that Trump had there?
No doubt Trump devotees will produce explanations and excuses for Nick Fuentes and Ye being at Mar-a-Lago.
Yet all that won’t matter, because the optics are disastrous for Team Trump. Of course if he’s the Republican nominee in 2024, no doubt his base will turn out in droves. Other Republicans will hold their noses and vote for him, knowing that he’s better than Joe Biden 2.0 — or whomever the ever-more progressive Democrat party trots out.
But what about independents? Or the politically unaffiliated who don’t care much for politics, but pay attention to the media? Associating with racists — whether intentional or not — is toxic to a candidate. They cannot win with that sort of narrative. Period. No amount of excuses or ‘splainin’ it away will fix it.
It’s time for the GOP to cast Donald Trump aside and find another standard bearer in 2024. As I have written before, we Republicans should do better than this.