Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday appeared to take aim at former President Donald Trump over his decision to host rapper Kanye West and white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner last week at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, NBC News reported.
The GOP's Senate leader opened his weekly news conference by saying, "First, let me just say that there is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism 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 did not mention Trump in his remarks and when pressed by reporters about whether he would support the former president if he wins the GOP nomination in 2024, McConnell did not respond directly.
"There is simply no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy, and that would apply to all of the leaders in the party who will be seeking offices," he said.
Fuentes and West, who has had his own issues with antisemitism recently, were seen dining with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate last Tuesday, when West said he had asked the former president to be his vice presidential running mate in 2024.
While sources confirmed to Axios that Fuentes did attend the dinner with Trump and West, Trump told the news outlet that he had never met Fuentes before dining with him.
"Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago," Trump said in a statement. "Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about."
The meeting has come under increased criticism in recent days, with a number of Senate Republicans blasting Trump over the meeting on Monday.
Also on Monday, Trump’s former Vice President, Mike Pence, said that Trump should apologize for the dinner with Fuentes.
Speaking to Leland Vittert of NewsNation in an interview, Pence said Trump “was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier, a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize for it and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification.”
At the same time, the former Vice President stressed that he does not believe Trump is an antisemite himself.
“I don’t believe he’s a racist or a bigot. I would not have been his Vice President if he was,” he stated. “People often forget that the President’s daughter converted to Judaism, his son-in-law is a devout Jew, his grandchildren are Jewish. I think the President demonstrated profoundly poor judgement in giving those individuals a seat at the table and, as I said, I think he should apologize for it, he should denounce them without qualification.”
Elan Carr, who served as the State Department’s antisemitism monitor during Trump’s time in office, also criticized Trump over the meeting with Fuentes and West.
“No responsible American, and certainly no former President, should be cavorting with the likes of Nick Fuentes and Kanye West,” Carr said Monday on Twitter. “To placate antisemitism is to promote antisemitism. President Trump must condemn these dangerous men and their disgusting and un-American views.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while not specifically mentioning Trump, appeared to take aim at him as well.
“Anti-Semitism is a cancer. As Secretary, I fought to ban funding for anti-Semitic groups that pushed BDS,” he tweeted on Saturday. “We stand with the Jewish people in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry.”