'Lowest common denominator': Donald Trump is ignoring advisers' requests to denounce Nick Fuentes
It’s been nearly a week since Donald Trump had dinner at his home at Mar-a-Lago with antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, and yet he continues to refuse to denounce him or his extremist views.
Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”
Fuentes, according to Trump, came to dinner at the behest of Kanye West, the former president’s invited dinner guest. He says the disgraced artist did not tell him in advance he was bringing “friends.” In addition to Fuentes, those friends reportedly include Milo Yiannopoulos, who has advocated for older men having sex with young teen boys, and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
West has also been increasingly viewed as antisemitic, especially after threatening to “go death con 3 on Jewish people.” That remark “conveyed a clear violence to many who saw it,” The Times of Israel reported last month.
Trump has a long history of refusing to denounce white supremacists and white nationalists. His refusal to denounce former KKK leader David Duke, when still a presidential candidate in 2016, has become an infamously defining moment for Trump.
“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white supremacists,’” Trump insisted. “I know nothing about white supremacists.”
“I have to look at the group,” Trump continued, when asked he would condemn white supremacists and say he does not want their vote. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about?”
That’s extremely similar to Trump’s initial response when news broke he had dined with Fuentes.
Trump on his Truth Social platform described the white supremacist as someone “whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
On MSNBC Monday morning, Politico’s Jonathan Lemire noted, “this strain of white nationalism is becoming more central to what today’s Republican Party is about.” He added that Trump is “trying to play to the lowest common denominator to try and keep some supporters in check.”
Fuentes is not just a white supremacist, a white Christian nationalist, a Holocaust “denier,” and a supporter of authoritarianism – along with holding other extremist views. He is a political commentator who has a large following and is seen as the head of a white supremacist movement. Fuentes is also the founder of the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), a white nationalism alternative to the already extremist Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) last year warned Fuentes is “a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”
But ADL also notes Fuentes “promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests,” and “served as an organizer and speaker at many ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” which may be yet another reason Trump has refused to denounce him.
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