Fuentes was positively giggling about it all on his Friday podcast, which was laden with his trademark antisemitism. Mostly it was what you’d expect from a fervent fanboy:
You know, this has become a little bit of a scandal for President Trump, and you know at the dinner, I’ll provide you with a little bit of detail, for what it’s worth. I told the president—and the president, I don’t think he does know who I am, or rather, he didn’t know that I was me [laughs], I’ll put it that way, I don’t think he knew that I was me at the dinner. I’m not sure about that, but certainly he didn’t know that I was me when I arrived at the dinner. You know, I didn’t mean for my statements, my whole background to sort of become a public-relations problem for the president. But I told him at the dinner, I said: ‘Mr. President, you are one of the greatest Americans that has ever lived, I campaigned for you in 2016, I was there at Stop the Steal at Harrisburg, Lansing, Atlanta, D.C., Phoenix.’ I said, ‘And I love you, and I supported you for all these years.’ I thought that was important because he has been a hero of mine, and he has been, he has been the guy for the last six years.
But then Fuentes shifted his tone, essentially warning Trump that if he attempted to run in 2024 by playing things moderately, he’d lose his perfervid base:
Although, based on the announcement speech that we saw a couple of weeks ago, and based on everything I’ve just said—we have to move forward. We have to move forward in service of Christ, in service of the truth and in service of America. We can’t move backwards.
Fuentes said that a “dialectic between DeSantis and a moderate Trump” would represent a step in the wrong direction for the “America First” movement: “The messaging has been moving backwards,” he complained, which he considers unacceptable:
Let’s be honest, this country is completely messed up. There is so much wrong. There are satanic people in charge of this country that do not believe in God. This country is becoming more secular by the day. And that is in addition to all the other problems—the borders are open, and the money’s being printed like crazy, and censorship is in overdrive, you can’t tell the truth, the whole system’s rigged, the country is totally subverted by foreign governments and transnational companies, and so on.
Nonetheless, later in the program, while conversing with his donors, Fuentes couldn’t suppress his giggling fanboy side:
Trump told me he liked me! Dude, I was just like—‘Oh my gosh.’ You know. Trump was like, ‘I like you.’ I was like—me? ‘This guy’s smart. Where did you find this guy?’ I was like—Ah, yeah. Hello, Epic Department? Hello, Awesome Department?’ That was all good. That felt good.
Fuentes’ version of events largely corroborates the original reporting by Jonathan Swan in Axios, whose sources told him that Trump "seemed very taken" with Fuentes, who had told him that he preferred an "authentic" Trump in contrast to his recent, heavily scripted 2024 campaign announcement speech.
Trump reportedly answered: “You like it better when I just speak off the cuff," and Fuentes replied that he did, calling Trump an "amazing" president when he was unrestrained. "There was a lot of fawning back and forth," the source added.
At one point, according to the source, Trump turned to West and said, "I really like this guy. He gets me.”
"To be honest, I don't believe the president knew who the hell [Fuentes] was," the source added.
West (aka Ye) posted a video debriefing his fans on the dinner, saying: “Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes. Nick Fuentes—unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign—he’s actually a loyalist [for Trump].”
Nonetheless, Fuentes’ own remarks and Swan’s source suggest that he’s prepared to support Ye, who ran for president as an independent in 2020, in his announced 2024 campaign. Ye has already announced that his campaign would be managed by onetime leading alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos.
Ye also indicated on Twitter that he has allowed Fuentes to tweet under his name on his Twitter account, including attacks on the Jewish conservative pundit Ben Shapiro that he later deleted: “If Nick keeps tweeting from my account the only platform I’ll have left is Truth Social,” Ye apparently commented at one point.
Fuentes has racked up a remarkable record of bigoted outbursts in the past year alone:
On the U.S. military: “They’re literally making a mercenary army of people that are gonna obediently murder whites when the time comes, that’s what this is about.”
"It's a big N'd-up, N-rified, J-ified free-for-all. We live in Africa with more stuff! We live in Africa or Mexico with more stuff! We live in a big Middle Eastern bazaar. We’re in a big fucking Middle Eastern bazaar with people sitting out blankets and selling cockroaches on sticks! And rocks!"
“These left-wing people, in their heart of hearts, they know they’re wrong. Because, like, they know that Black people are violent … you know, they struggle with the impulse control, they’re violent.”
On Jews: “So don’t tell me they’re entitled to their religion. If their religion involves my Lord in Hell, then they can get the fuck out of America, frankly. Insofar as that is your belief, then you have no business being here.”
"I don't believe in democracy. I do not believe in universal suffrage. I don't support women's rights. I don't support 'LGBT rights.' I believe in race and gender essentialism. I'm a Catholic reactionary. I believe that organized Jewry is extremely influential."
“…That’s why we need dictatorship. … We need to take control of the media, take control of the government, and force the people to believe what we believe.”
"I want this country to have Catholic media, Catholic Hollywood, Catholic government. I want this to be a Catholic occupied government, not a Jewish occupied government."
Nonetheless, Trump—who perfected a three-step tango with the radical right during his tenure as president—refused to offer any kind of outright disavowal of Fuentes afterward, other than saying on his Truth Social account that he didn’t know him. Ye, he said, “expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson.’ Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes.”
Reportedly, advisers who reached Trump over the Thanksgiving holiday to urge him to disavow Fuentes found that the ex-president fundamentally did not want to criticize the white nationalist because he fears doing so could antagonize the most fervent part of his base. They also reported that Trump became more obstinate in his refusal the more he was advised to distance himself from his dinner guest.
President Biden voiced his disgust in terse terms: “You don’t want to hear what I think,” he replied to reporters asking his reaction.
As author and researcher Kathleen Belew told Sargent: “A former president sitting for a dinner meeting with a white power activist is the kind of thing that activists can use to claim that they have become a real political force.”
"This is a f---ing nightmare," an anonymous longtime Trump adviser told NBC News. "If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here's another reason why."
Fuentes has flaunted his growing influence within the Republican Party for most of the past year. And the response by mainstream Republicans to Trump’s dinner with him—namely, almost utter silence—reflected their cowardice in dealing either with Trump or their burgeoning extremist contingent.
Axios reported that, when it attempted to elicit comment on Trump’s dinner date from spokespersons “for nearly two dozen House and Senate Republicans — including party leaders, co-chairs of caucuses and task forces focused on Judaism or antisemitism and sponsors of legislation to combat antisemitic hate crimes,” none of them responded.
The one response they did get, from Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, was generic and mentioned neither Trump nor Fuentes: “As I had repeatedly said, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, hate speech and bigotry are disgusting and do not have a home in the Republican Party.”
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Republican Congressman James Comer was cornered, and lamely answered: “Well, he certainly needs better judgment in who he dines with.”
The outgoing Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson was the most outspoken Republican. “You could have accidental meetings. Things like that happened. This was not an accidental meeting,” said Hutchinson, adding that “it’s not a good idea for a leader that’s setting an example for the country or the party to meet with avowed racist or antisemite."
“It's very troubling and it shouldn't happen,” Hutchinson continued. “We need to avoid those kinds of empowering the extremes. When you meet with people, you empower, and that's what you have to avoid. You want to diminish their strength, not empower them. Stay away from them.”
“This Trump episode can rightfully be labeled many things, from normalizing antisemitism to emboldening white supremacy,” observed Dean Obeidallah at CNN. “But the overriding takeaway is that it is perfectly consistent with Trump’s brand.”
This normalization process is radicalizing the Republican Party even further than it already has since 2020. Jonathan Chait observes at New York magazine:
The issue is that Trump has expanded the Republican coalition to the right, activating and encompassing undisguised white supremacists, who, through their entry into the two-system, have gained newfound influence. This is a dangerous and historically significant change to the American political scene. And hardly anybody in the GOP—certainly not Ron DeSantis—intends to reverse it.
Belew was particularly troubled by the failure of Republicans to firmly denounce the Trump meetup:
I think that is a significant and different step forward for the white power movement. It’s not just one person, it’s not just this cult of personality thing, it’s not just the Trump administration. That says the white power movement has become a permanent force within the GOP in some sense. It’s important enough an ideological current that other candidates won’t or can’t distance themselves.
Fuentes and his fans can also point to Twitter’s new billionaire owner, Elon Musk, as proof that their worldview is gaining ground within the mainstream right. Musk—who also lifted Twitter bans for Ye and others previously ousted from the platform for their antisemitism and other bigotry—demonstrated his own red-pilled worldview on Monday, posting a meme featuring alt-right mascot Pepe smoking a cigar, reading: “I don’t care about this particular psyop, honestly.”
As the final results of the 2022 midterm elections came into focus this past week, the lack of clarity in the GOP’s leadership also became apparent. Kerry and Markos break down what this means for Democratic voters going forward and how Donald Trump’s campaign for president is a lose lose proposition for Republicans.
Comments are closed on this story.