Watch: Former Trump staffer says Donald 'does not need to apologize' for dining with Holocaust denier

Watch: Former Trump staffer says Donald 'does not need to apologize' for dining with Holocaust denier
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CNN anchor Don Lemon on Monday morning grilled former President Donald Trump's Deputy Assitant Secretary of State Len Khodorkovsky about the attendance of antisemites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes – an outspoken Holocaust denier – at a dinner that Trump hosted on Tuesday, November 22nd at his Palm Beach, Florida Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump's association with West and Fuentes has triggered widespread outrage and frustration, most notably among Republicans, many of whom believe that Trump has all but sabotaged the party's chances of retaking the presidency in 2024 if Trump wins the GOP nomination.

Yet there are exceptions, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who has not opined on the clandestine company that Trump appears to be keeping. Trump, meanwhile, has refused to acknowledge the bigotry that Fuentes espouses and has denied having any knowledge of Fuentes prior to their meal. Trump also reportedly fears that disavowing white supremacy and antisemitism would alienate his supporters.

READ MORE: 'Entrenched in obstinance': Donald Trump is refusing to condemn Holocaust denier despite allies' pleas

Karen Giorno, an ex-Trump aide and senior advisor who was at the event, toldThe Washington Post on Friday that Trump "was impressed with Nick and his knowledge of Trump World. Nick knew people and figures and speeches and rallies and what surrounded the Trump culture, particularly when it came to the base."

During Monday's CNN segment, Lemon asked Khodorkovsky to condemn Trump for meeting with West and Fuentes.

It was a struggle.

Khodorkovsky:

As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I am concerned with the mainstreaming of antisemitism wherever it comes from. And I, I, I, condemn Kanye's antisemitism and I condemn his psychic's antisemitism.

Lemon:

Do you condemn the former president for meeting with antisemites?

Khodorkovsky:

Sir, sir, alright you know, I would appreciate the opportunity to...

READ MORE: 'Not accidental': GOP governor admonishes Donald Trump for dining with Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes

Lemon:

You said you condemn antisemitism and the mainstreaming of antisemitism. Do you condemn the former president for meeting with antisemites? For entertaining antisemites and antisemitism?

Khodorkovsky:

Let me just explain it to you this way sir. I know the president is not an antisemite. He does not need to apologize to me or anybody else.

Lemon:

I'm not asking if he's an antisemite. I'm asking if you entertain – do you condemn him for entertaining and meeting with antisemites? It's a very simple question.

Khodorkovsky:

Well and I'm trying to give you an answer that I wish he wouldn't have met with them.

Lemon:

It's a yes or a no.

Khodorkovsky:

I didn't realize I was on a witness stand here, Don. look, I'm trying to have a substantive conversation about a real issue like antisemitism and you're trying to make it all about Trump. It's not about Trump.

Lemon:

Well, it is about Trump. Sir, we're talking about the former president meeting with an antisemite. How is this not about Trump?

Khodorkovsky:

Because it's about the antisemitism. It's not about Trump. It's about making sure the issue of antisemitism is confronted in a way, in a substantive way, in which, you know, obviously, I'm sure you're aware there's rising antisemitism in the United States and the world. It certainly is important for us to take it on. It is important for us to call it out. I am calling it out. I am saying he should not have met with Kanye West and his psychic. What I'm also trying to point out, Don, is that it behooves you and CNN and every other press outlet to call it out when you see it, especially when it comes in the halls of Congress, especially when every Democratic presidential hopeful goes and kisses the ring of Al Sharpton.

Lemon:

I think, listen, sir. CNN does that.

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: 'Nightmare': Longtime Trump adviser warns Fuentes meeting is 'another reason' people want 'DeSantis to run'

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