EXCLUSIVE: Former US President Donald Trump opened up to the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesdaycalling him “a failure for our nation and for the Republican Party,” while telling Fox News Digital at the time that he didn’t know white nationalist Nick Fuentes, and if Fuentes had expressed his views during their “very quick lunch,” it “wouldn’t have was accepted.”
McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday blasted Trump for his dinner last week with Kanye West, aka E, and Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago, saying Trump was unlikely to be re-elected in 2024 because of the event.
“The Republican Party has no place for anti-Semitism or white supremacy. And anyone who hangs out with people who hold that view is, in my opinion, very unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States,” McConnell said.
When asked to respond to McConnell’s comments, Trump slammed the Senate GOP leader.
“Mitch is a failure for our nation and for the Republican Party who would not have been re-elected in Kentucky without my endorsement, which he asked me to do because he resigned,” Trump said. “His well-funded opponent had $93 million ready to spend when I dropped him from two points to 21 in a matter of days.”
McConnell’s spokesman declined to comment on Trump’s criticism.
Regarding the highly controversial Mar-a-Lago dinner last week, Trump said he had “never heard of Nick Fuentes.”
“I’ve never heard of this man — I had no idea what his views were, and they weren’t expressed at the table during our very quick dinner, or it wouldn’t have been accepted,” Trump said.
Fuentes, a white nationalist, has made racist remarks and engaged in Holocaust revisionism in the past, although he has maintained that he is not a Holocaust denier. As for Ye, who has also faced criticism for anti-Semitic remarks, Trump said he “asked to meet with me for advice,” saying he “heard that Kanye was having difficulties, including financial ones.”
“He asked me to meet with him,” Trump said.
“If you see him, the fake media will create a problem,” Trump said. “If you don’t see it, the fake media will claim I’m racist.”
“The meeting was uneventful,” Trump continued, noting that it was “standard for the media” to accuse him of white supremacy.
“They know it’s not true,” he said.
The former president, who announced his 2024 presidential campaign earlier this month, told Fox News Digital that “no one has proven to be more of a friend of Israel than Donald Trump.”
“No one has to prove or defend me and Israel,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “They recognized that I am Israel’s best friend and president.”
“I gave them an embassy in Jerusalem,” Trump said, referring to the Trump administration’s 2018 move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a move long debated in Washington — and one that showed the U.S. officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Beginning with the historic Abraham Accords that brought peace to the Middle East, withdrawing from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, appointing a special envoy to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, President Trump has always been and continues to be to remain the closest friend and ally of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” a Trump adviser told Fox News Digital.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Tuesday also criticized the meeting.
“I don’t think anybody should be spending time with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy told reporters at the White House on Tuesday after meeting with President Joe Biden. “He has no place in this Republican Party.”
However, McCarthy appeared to defend Trump, saying he had “come up four times and denounced” Fuentes, adding that he “didn’t know who he was.”
In response to Fuentes, McCarthy said, “I condemn his ideology. She has no place in society.”
Last week, Ye posted a video saying that Trump was “very impressed” with Fuentes, whom he described as a “loyalist,” and that the artist caught Trump off guard by asking him to be his vice president.
“I think Trump was most worried [was] I asked him to be my vice president,” Ye said in the video. – I think it was lower on the list of things that caught him off guard.
“I don’t think he knew I was at the dinner, let’s put it that way,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d say he didn’t recognize me… I’m not sure about that, but of course he didn’t know it was me when I came to dinner, and I’m not that doesn’t mean that my statements and my entire background will become a public problem for the president.”
Meanwhile, Trump told Fox News Digital that Democrats should “condemn antifa.”
“You don’t see people condemning Antifa — they destroyed Portland, what they did to Minneapolis, look at that,” Trump said. “Why aren’t people condemning Antifa?”