Former U.S. President Donald Trump hosted erratic hip hop artist Kanye West at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida along with white nationalist Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust revisionist who has openly questioned the number of Jews killed by the Nazis, but the meeting did not go as planned for the disgraced election loser.
Trump’s decision to launch his campaign nearly two full years before the election reflects his hope that his status as a candidate will shield him from legal accountability for his misconduct during his term in the White House.
Trump is the subject of at least two separate Department of Justice investigations, various civil lawsuits and criminal probes. He has also been subpoenaed to testify before the congressional committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot.
Trump announced his third consecutive presidential campaign by describing his turbulent single term, which was defined by his failed coup d’état and a mismanaged pandemic, as a “golden age” of prosperity and American global dominance.
The Republican glossed over his attempt to destroy democracy but bizarrely, Trump claimed his presidency went ‘decades’ without war even though he was in office for only four years.
“I’ve gone decades, decades without a war, the first president to do it for a long period,” said Trump, who lost his re-election to President Joe Biden two years ago.
In his announcement speech, Trump lashed out at Biden and criticized Republicans who refused to embrace his far right, election-denying movement despite the party’s weak midterm election performance, in which candidates he endorsed stacked up large numbers of high-profile defeats.
Trump is trying to become the second person ever to serve two non-consecutive terms as president and the first since the 1800s.
Fuentes and West are the latest extremists with known histories of explicit antisemitic remarks who have met with Trump since he announced his 2024 presidential candidacy.
Trump was “really impressed” with Fuentes because “unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist,” but West said, “Trump was most perturbed about me asking him to be my vice president.”
“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. 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,” Trump said in a statement.
Fuentes first gained notoriety after attending the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
Trump was heavily criticized at the time for his response to the racist violence after he referred to the neo-Nazis as ‘very fine people’ and called Robert E. Lee ‘a great general’.
Fuentes also made headlines after hosting a white nationalist conference in Florida in which Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar participated.
At the conference, Fuentes said, “And now they’re going on about Russia and Vladimir Putin is Hitler — they say that’s not a good thing,” per a Twitter video. He then laughed and said, “I shouldn’t have said that.”
Fuentes and his America First adherents vocally support policies championed by Trump, such as the closure of the U.S. borders to immigrants, while opposing “liberal” values such as feminism and LGBTQ+ rights.
One of the world’s best-selling music artists, with over 160 million records sold, West has won 22 Grammy Awards and 75 nominations, but he has earned rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League and others for his pronounced antisemitism, which was praised by the neo-Nazi Goyim Defense League and he was awarded the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album at the 2021 Grammys.
“When Trump started basically screaming at the table telling me I was gonna lose, I mean, has that ever worked for anyone in history? I’m like, ‘wait, hold on Trump, you’re talking to Ye,’” the Grammy winner said.
While Trump dismissed West’s presidential aspirations, the rapper’s political advisor shared the view that
West previously ran for president in 2020, but that campaign flopped, attracting a meagre 70,000 votes.
“In my personal view, the former president has only himself to blame. This is an overdue reckoning. President Trump has neglected and betrayed everyone who loved him most, from the cancelled personalities who helped him into office to his abused supporters on January 6. He might like to reflect on whether he could have done more to acknowledge and support his most loyal fans over the years,” said far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who is campaign manager for West’s 2024 presidential election campaign. “Habitual, callous ingratitude has a way of catching up with you.”
A former editor at the right-wing publication Breitbart, Yiannopoulos was largely shunned by mainstream conservatives after a video emerged in 2017 of him appearing to condone pedophilia.
Despite those comments about the sexual abuse of minors, Yiannopolous recently worked as an intern for Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.