Trump’s Dinner With Extremists Raises Questions About His Presidential Campaign

Trump’s Dinner With Extremists Raises Questions About His Presidential Campaign

Former US President Donald Trump made headlines over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend after it was revealed that he hosted two men known for making anti-Semitic statements for dinner at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.

At the meeting, Trump reportedly sat down with rapper and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, as well as Nick Fuentes, a far-right activist who has promoted people with white nationalist views and denied reality. of the Holocaust.

Trump later claimed he didn’t know Ye planned to bring Fuentes to the meeting, but he can hardly have been unaware of the rapper’s recent anti-Semitic comments that caused major companies, including sporting goods giant AdidasThey cut ties with him.

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The meeting took place just a week after Trump officially declare himself a candidate for the presidency in 2024 and brings back memories of his 2016 campaign, when his willingness to associate with far-right fringe figures made the Republican establishment hesitant to accept him.

fringe candidates

Republicans are still stinging over the results of the midterm elections in which they they failed to capture the senate and they only got a small majority in the House of Representatives. Many blamed the poor results largely on Trump, whose candidates are handpicked and often chosen for their willingness to repeat his false claims about election theft of 2020, they performed poorly.

On Monday, the deadline for counties in the state of Arizona to certify the results of the November 8 midterm elections, Trump continued to publish false claims of widespread fraud and electoral irregularities, which he has blamed for the defeats of his favorite candidates in that state.

Some county-level officials who supported Trump’s claims on Monday refused to certify the election results, though they are expected to be forced to do so by court order, given a lack of evidence of embezzlement.

Now, with Trump seeking party endorsement for another four years in the White House, pundits are wondering if his continued association with extremist figures, combined with another failed election, will ultimately prove too much for the broader Republican Party.

While the party’s most prominent members have avoided discussing Trump’s association with Ye and Fuentes, others are speaking out.

“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites,” Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy wrote on Twitter Monday. “These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.”

In an appearance on CNN on Sunday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea for a leader who is setting an example for the country or the party to meet with a racist or an anti-Semite. declared. And so, it’s very concerning and it shouldn’t happen.”

Not all Republicans were harsh critics of Trump. The Politico website reported that South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said he would not “condemn anyone” even though Fuentes “is not someone I would meet with.”

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley told Politico: “It’s a free country, [Trump] He can do whatever he wants”.

Another political “incidence”

“Trump has long played with people who espouse horrible, bigoted beliefs,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, from the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told Voice of America.

“This dinner is just the latest incidence in what is a very familiar trend. Trump is now a candidate seeking a third straight Republican presidential nomination. We’ll have to see if enough Republicans are tired of him and would rather go with a different option,” he pointed.

“Private dinner with [Ye] West could have generated attention in the mainstream press and a lot of likes from right-wing nationalist troll farms, even if he had further alienated some Jewish supporters,” Chris Stirewalt, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said in a statement to the VOA.

Stirewalt, a former political editor for Fox News Channel, added: “But even if it was just because of the indifferent or sloppy work of the staff, getting Fuentes in at exactly the moment when mainstream Republicans are rethinking their relationship with Trump, after the bad turn he gave the Republican Party in the midterms, was another in a series of missteps for the former president.”

Blaming Ye

On Sunday, Trump was still dealing with the fallout from the meeting and used a post on his social media profile to point the finger at Ye for bringing Fuentes to his home unannounced.

Accounts of what happened at the meeting included Ye asking Trump to consider running with him, in the role of vice-presidential candidate in 2024.

“So, I help a seriously troubled man, who happens to be black, Ye, who’s been decimated in his business and pretty much everything else, and who’s always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a- Lago, alone, so I can give you some much-needed ‘advice,'” Trump wrote.

“He shows up with three people, two of whom I didn’t know, the other a politician I haven’t seen in years. I told him not to run for office, a total waste of time, he can’t win. The news! false they went crazy!”, settled.

Easy access

Taking Trump’s word that he didn’t expect Ye to bring Fuentes on, analysts still see the fact that a known Holocaust denier actually met the former president as indicative of the kinds of organizations Trump tends to run, whether in the charge or out of charge.

“It reflects the fact that in Mar-a-Lago, like the Oval Office, there is virtually no screening process to determine who gets to see the ‘big man,'” William Galston, the program’s principal investigator, told VOA. of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. “And that’s by design, because Donald Trump is wary of people who try to manage him or select the people he meets or talks to.”

Galston considered that Trump might be willing to continue partnering with Ye out of the belief that the relationship will eventually benefit him.

“He has a long history of not abandoning people who he thinks may be useful to him in the future,” Galston said.

In Ye’s case, he said, that could be in Trump’s quest for a larger share of the African-American vote.

“Trump has this persistent fantasy that he’s enormously popular with black men,” Galston said. “And that the black men he anoints are influential and thought leaders within that group.”

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