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McConnell pans Trump for dinner with bigot

Anyone dining with anti-Semites is “unlikely to ever be elected president”, the top Senate Republican says after Donald Trump’s dinner with a white nationalist.

November 30, 2022
By Steve Holland and David Morgan
30 November 2022

The top two Republicans in the US Congress have broken their silence about former president Donald Trump’s dinner last week with white supremacist Nick Fuentes, saying the Republican Party has no place for anti-Semitism or white supremacy.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, who might become Speaker of the US House of Representatives when Republicans take control in January, had not commented previously on the November 22 meeting.

Trump began his 2024 bid for the White House on November 15, and is Republican voters’ top choice, according to opinion polls.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for anti-Semitism or white supremacy, and anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday without mentioning Trump by name.

“That would apply to all of the leaders in the party who will be seeking offices,” McConnell added, when asked if he would support Trump should he become the party’s 2024 presidential nominee.

McCarthy was pressed for his thoughts on the Trump dinner by reporters at the White House after talks with President Joe Biden.

“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes,” said McCarthy, currently the House minority leader. “His views are nowhere within the Republican Party or within this country itself.”

Trump has said the encounter at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, was inadvertent, but the meeting has drawn rare criticism from fellow Republicans, some of whom accused Trump of empowering extremism.

The US Justice Department describes Fuentes as a white supremacist. The Anti-Defamation League said Fuentes once “jokingly denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven”.

While president, Trump was broadly criticised for not explicitly condemning white nationalists whose August 2017 rally on a college campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, was seen as having provoked violence with counter-protesters, one of whom was killed.

Trump’s former vice-president Mike Pence on Monday called for an apology from Trump for the meeting with Fuentes.

Fuentes attended the dinner with Ye, the musician formerly known as Kanye West, who has also drawn widespread criticism for anti-Semitic comments.

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