Sunday 27 November 2022 05:29 PM GOP Rep. James Comer says Trump 'needs better judgement' after dinner with Nick ... trends now
Donald Trump continues to face backlash on Sunday for his Mar-a-Lago dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, now known at Ye.
Two prominent Republicans who appeared on Sunday news programs were quick to condemn the former president, who has himself sought to draw distance from the controversial meeting.
Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said Trump 'needs better judgement in who he dines with.'
Outgoing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who is no stranger to criticizing Trump, called the face-to-face 'very troubling' and accused him of 'empowering' extremists.
They're just the two latest GOP voices to speak out against the meeting - a powerful condemnation of a party leader who recently announced his intent to seek the White House once again in 2024.
Trump is being criticized for associating himself with far-right activist Fuentes and the disgraced rapper - two men who have promoted antisemitism and hate - after the three dined together at his Palm Beach resort last week.
The ex-president claimed to not know who Fuentes was before the meeting - though he hasn't condemned his antisemitic views - and said West had turned up at his door seeking business advice.
It came after the rapper said in a video that he dined with Trump and that he 'started basically screaming' when West told him he wanted to run for president himself.
Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said of Donald Trump's meeting with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West: 'I would not take a meeting with- with that person, though. I wouldn't take a meeting with Kanye West either, but that's, that's my opinion'
'He certainly needs better judgment in who he dines with,' Kentucky Rep. Comer told NBC's Meet The Press when asked if the meeting was a 'mistake.'
'I know that he's issued a statement. He said he didn't know who those people were.'
He later added, 'I would not take a meeting with- with that person, though. I wouldn't take a meeting with Kanye West either, but that's, that's my opinion.'
Hutchinson, who has fueled speculation that he could challenge Trump with his own White House bid, told CNN's State Of The Union that the ex-president 'failed' to distance himself from and condemn an extremist wing of the GOP.
The term-limited Republican governor previously prosecuted white supremacist groups as a federal attorney in Arkansas.
'I hope, someday, we won't have to be responding to what former President Trump has said or done. In this instance, it's important to respond,' he said when asked about Trump's dinner.
'The last time I met with a white supremacist, it was in an armed standoff. I had a bulletproof vest on...And so, no, I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that is setting an example for the country or the party to meet with an avowed racist or antisemite.'
Hutchinson said it was 'very troubling and it shouldn't happen.'
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson accused Trump of 'empowering' extremists by meeting with the white supremancist
'I mean, you could have accidental meetings. Things like that happen. This was not an accidental meeting. It was a setup dinner with Kanye,' the governor said.
He added, 'We need to avoid those kinds of empowering the extremes. And when you meet with people, you empower. And that's what you have to avoid. You want to diminish their strength...Stay away from them.'
On Saturday, Trump remained defiant amid calls to apologize, taking to his Truth Social app to claim he was only doing West a favor with the get-together.
Trump posted: 'So I help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed 'advice.''
He added: 'He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn't know, the other a political person who I haven't seen in years. I told him don't run for office, a total waste of time, can't win. Fake News went CRAZY!'
Trump, posting on his Truth Social account, was defiant amid the media criticism of the meeting with the embattled rapper and Fuentes
The 45th president caused an outrage - even among some Republicans - when it was revealed he had dinner with Fuentes, described as an alt-right figure and a 'white supremacist,' at his Palm Beach hom e. Ye, as the rapper West goes by now, was also present
David M. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew who served as Trump's ambassador to Israel during his presidency, publicly blasted the former president for hosting the duo.
'To my friend Donald Trump, you are better than this,' he tweeted on Friday.
'Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.'
Trump was reportedly 'very taken' with Fuentes during the impromptu dinner and was impressed by his ability to 'rattle off statistics and recall speeches dating back to his 2016 campaign' - but had no clue of his controversial background, sources told Axios.
The Justice Department in a 2021 complaint referred to Fuentes, an alt-right figure, as a 'white supremacist' and 'America First' podcaster.' In an episode of his podcast, Fuentes denied the Holocaust and compared Jews who were burnt in Nazi concentration camps to cookies in an oven.
The dinner on Tuesday is the latest example of the former president associating himself with individuals with extreme or racist views despite his own son-in-law Jared Kushner being Jewish and his daughter Ivanka converting to Judaism before their wedding.
David M. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew who served as former President Trump's ambassador to Israel, publicly blasted Trump for hosting Nick Fuentes and Kanye West in Mar-a-Lago
Friedman tweeted on Friday that Trump was 'better than this' calling a social visit from an 'antisemite like Kanye West' and 'human scum like Nick Fuentes unacceptable'
Friedman followed up the tweet with another that pointed out that he condemned former President Barak Obama for associating with Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright
Friedman continued in another tweet: 'I condemned Barak Obama associating with Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. This is no different. Antisemites deserve no quarter among American leaders, right or left.'
As backlash against the former president continued on Twitter, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said: '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.'
NBC News has since reported those close to Trump have been thrown into a tailspin by the fallout from the meeting, despite the former president allegedly having no prior knowledge of who Fuentes was.
'This is a f***ing nightmare,' one longtime Trump adviser who spoke anonymously told the outlet.
Friedman is pictured with Trump and Jared Kushner in 2020. Kushner is Jewish and Trump's daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before her wedding to Kushner
The source went on to say they are concerned that the meeting could impact Trump's chances at taking the Republican nomination in 2024.
'If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here's another reason why,' the source said.
On Friday, Ye also confirmed that Trump was 'impressed' with Fuentes in a video posted to Twitter.
'So Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes, and Nick Fuentes, unlike so many of the lawyers, and so many of the people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he's actually a loyalist' Ye said.
In a post on Truth Social Friday evening, Trump said he didn't know Fuentes previous to the meeting and offered an explanation on the meeting with the rapper.
'Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, was asking me for advice concerning some of his difficulties, in particular having to do with his business,' Trump wrote in the post.
'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 antisemitism, & I appreciated all the nice things he said about me on 'Tucker Carlson.' Why wouldn't I agree to meet? Also, I don't know Nick Fuentes.'
In a post on Truth Social Friday, Trump said he welcomed Ye to Mar-a-Lago for discussions surrounding business
Fuentes once 'jokingly' denied the Holocaust in an