McCarthy claims of Trump dinner with white nationalist: ‘He didn’t know who Fuentes was’

Kevin McCarthy, likely the next speaker of the House of Representatives, defended former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, a week after Trump met white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at his resort in Mar-a-Lago made anti-Semitic remarks.

“I don’t think anyone should be spending time with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy told ABC News White House correspondent Mary Bruce after meeting President Joe Biden and other congressional leaders.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House on November 29, 2022.

Pool/ABC News

“He has no place in this Republican Party. I believe President Trump came out and condemned him four times and didn’t know who he was,” McCarthy said, although there is no evidence Trump condemned Fuentes.

McCarthy’s brief comments came after a number of other high-profile Republicans condemned what Trump had insisted was an impromptu meal.

Beyond Washington, Trump has drawn criticism from his former vice president and potential main opponent for 2024, Mike Pence.

“President Trump wrongly gave a seat at the table to a white nationalist, an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier, and I think he should apologize,” Pence said in an interview with NewsNation.

Still, Pence said, “I don’t think Donald Trump is an anti-Semite. I don’t think he’s a racist or a fanatic.”

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has so far declined to comment on the Mar-a-Lago meeting. McCarthy is a legislative ally of Trump, while McConnell has broken with the former president on a number of occasions, including criticizing him over the Jan. 6 uprising.

Fuentes, a white nationalist who has made racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments, has been banned from all major social media platforms. Ye recently lost important business deals over his own anti-Semitic remarks.

Trump said he didn’t know who Fuentes was when Fuentes came to Mar-a-Lago and first posted about the meeting on his social media platform on Friday. He claimed he was unaware that Ye would be bringing other guests, but made no mention of Fuentes.

In later statements, he said he was just trying to meet up with Ye and that the rapper brought Fuentes to the two-hour dinner without his knowledge.

“Well, I condemn that ideology. She has no place in society,” McCarthy said when pressed by ABC’s Bruce over Trump’s lack of comment on white nationalist Fuentes.

“The President didn’t know who he was,” McCarthy repeated. “So he knew who Kanye West is? He didn’t know who Fuentes was.”

Later asked if it was appropriate for Trump to meet with West, McCarthy said, “The President has meetings with whoever he wants. However, I don’t think anyone should be dating Nick Fuentes… I think Kanye West… I don’t think we should be friends with them either. I’m very clear on my position.”

McCarthy last week won the Republican nomination to be speaker in the next congress, fending off a challenge from Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs as the GOP will regain the House majority in the next session.

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