Trump urged to apologise for dining with Kanye West – and Holocaust-denying white nationalist
Former US vice president Mike Pence has criticised Donald Trump for dining with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
Mr Pence is among a number of Republicans calling on the former US president to apologise for what he has described as “profoundly poor judgement”.
The group – Mr Trump, Ye and Nick Fuentes, a far-right activist with antisemitic and white nationalist views – met last week at Mar-a-Lago.
In an interview with NewsNation on Monday night, Mr Pence said: “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and Holocaust denier, a seat at the table, and I think he should apologise for it.
“And he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric, without qualification.”
But Mr Pence insisted that Mr Trump is not antisemitic or racist, saying he would not have served as vice president under him if he was.
Other Republicans to criticise Mr Trump include Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy, who said: “President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites.
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“These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained.”
Florida senator Rick Scott added: “There’s no room for antisemitism or white supremacy in the Republican Party. Period.”
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, a long-time Trump ally, said: “Yeah, the meeting was bad.
“He shouldn’t have done it.”
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But he added that “there’s a double standard about this kind of stuff and I don’t think it will matter in terms of his political future”.
Missouri senator Josh Hawley said Mr Trump could “have dinner with whomever he wants to have dinner with, but I wouldn’t have dinner with him (Mr Fuentes), I’ll put it that way”.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told The New York Times that the dinner was “just another example of an awful lack of judgement from Donald Trump”.
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Retiring Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told CNN it was “very troubling” – adding that “it shouldn’t happen”.
But others, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, were silent.
Mr Trump said he did not know who Mr Fuentes was before the meeting but he has not denounced the views of Mr Fuentes or their dinner companion Ye, who has also made antisemitic comments in recent weeks.
The Republican Party continues to grapple with how to handle Mr Trump.
Many blame him for the party’s performance in the mid-term elections, which was worse than expected, but they also recognise that Mr Trump – who recently announced he would run again for the presidency in 2024 – remains very popular with his base.