(WASHINGTON) — A spokesman for President Joe Biden is sharply criticizing former President Donald Trump for having dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago club last week.
“Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America – including at Mar-A-Lago. Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement.
Trump met with Fuentes while hosting rapper and designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at his resort last Tuesday, ABC News previously reported.
Fuentes has a history of racist, sexist and antisemitic comments, including apparent skepticism about the Holocaust, and has been banned on all major social media platforms.
Tuesday’s dinner lasted about two hours and was attended by Fuentes, Ye — who recently lost major business deals over his own antisemitic remarks — and Florida Republican political operative Karen Giorno.
The White House’s denunciation of the Mar-a-Lago dinner adds to a growing chorus of critics, including some Republicans.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an erstwhile Trump ally, told The New York Times it was “another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024.”
Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seemingly distanced himself from figures like Fuentes when he tweeted on Saturday that “anti-Semitism is a cancer. … We stand with the Jewish people in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry.” (He didn’t reference Trump by name.)
And in a statement to The Washington Post, the Republican Jewish Coalition called on “all political leaders to reject their messages of hate and refuse to meet with” Ye and Fuentes.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, spoke even more bluntly.
“For Donald Trump to dine with notorious white supremacists and unrepentant bigots, I think at a minimum it’s clarifying. He is trying to make America hate again and running arguably the most unapologetic white nationalist presidential campaign we’ve ever seen,” Greenblatt said on CNN.
In a series of statements, Trump played down Fuentes’ involvement, insisting he didn’t know who Fuentes was before they met and that he was unaware Fuentes would be joining the meal.
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” Trump said in one statement on Friday.
In a subsequent statement, he said that Ye had asked for the meeting for “very much needed ‘advice'” and brought “3 people, two of which I didn’t know.”
Trump recently announced he is running for president in 2024. Ye, who launched a longshot third-party bid of his own in the 2020 race, has also claimed he is running in 2024.
A source at the dinner previously told ABC News that during the meeting, Ye asked Trump to be his vice president. The rapper has often voiced support for Trump and met with him in the Oval Office while Trump was president.
In a video released on Twitter, Ye said their dinner became heated when he and Trump discussed politics. He contended that Trump was “really impressed with Nick Fuentes.”
In his social media statements, Trump said he and Ye “got along great” and that Ye “expressed no anti-Semitism.”
Biden has refrained from commenting on the dinner but suggested he had strong feelings. He was asked about it while out shopping in Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon.
“You don’t want to hear what I think,” he replied.
ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway, Olivia Rubin and Will Steakin contributed to this report.
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