Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Donald Trump is “trying to make America hate again” after the former president admitted to having dinner with a prominent white supremacist days after announcing his 2024 presidential campaign.
“For Donald Trump to dine with notorious white supremacists and unrepentant bigots ― I think, at a minimum, it’s clarifying,” Greenblatt said on CNN. “He’s trying to make America hate again and running arguably the most unapologetic white nationalist presidential campaign that we’ve ever seen.”
Trump hosted a dinner on Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort with white nationalist activist Nick Fuentes and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, whose professional empire has been upended by a series of recent antisemitic tirades and subsequent allegations of workplace misconduct.
Amid furious backlash over the meeting, including from some Republicans, Trump has distanced himself from Ye and insisted he did not know who Fuentes was. According to Trump, the dinner was supposed to be with Ye, who brought Fuentes as his guest.
Greenblatt said it “makes no difference” that Trump claimed not to know Fuentes.
“It’s demonstrably unpresidential when you can’t demonstrate a basic knowledge of people in public life,” he said, noting that in 2016, Trump claimed not to know “anything about” David Duke and refused to condemn the former KKK leader after getting his endorsement.
Ye, who has been accused by former employees of praising Adolf Hitler and Nazis in business meetings, posted several videos on Thursday claiming that Trump was “really impressed” with Fuentes. Sources also told The New York Times and Axios that Trump praised Fuentes at the dinner and at one point said, “he gets me.”
Fuentes has ties to key allies of Trump, such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Both lawmakers attracted furious backlash earlier this year after they spoke at a white nationalist conference organized by Fuentes.
In January, Fuentes was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the 2020 election. At least seven people with connections to Fuentes’ America First movement were charged with federal crimes relating to the insurrection.