Donald Trump went too far. From the outset of his political career, he has been accused of supporting the racist right and some of his statements in this regard have come under harsh criticism from his Democratic rivals. Despite this, Trump has long avoided any soundbite that might sound antisemitic.
He has even boasted of the fact that his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and his two grandchildren are Jewish. But then came Trump’s meeting with antisemitic rapper Kanye West—now known as Ye—and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, which was criticized even by those who had been his allies.
The meeting was held at Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago. He claimed after the meeting that he had only arranged for Ye’s arrival, but the latter surprised him and brought Fuentes as well. Trump said that he did not know of Fuentes previously. “He arrived unexpectedly with three of his friends, whom I had never heard of,” he said of Ye. “We had dinner with many friends. The meal was quick and eventless.”
Trump added that he tried to convince Ye not to run for the U.S. presidency in 2024. Ye claimed that Trump was impressed by Fuentes.
Both Ye and Fuentes have a long history of public comments against Jews. Only a month ago, Ye was removed from Instagram and Twitter for antisemitism. In one case, he claimed that a rapper named Didi was “controlled by the Jews.” In the past, he has said that he “loves Hitler and the Nazis.” Fuentes believes in the supremacy of the white race, regularly incites against the Jews on social media and is a self-declared Holocaust denier.
Following the meeting, a close associate of Trump, former Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, tweeted, “To my friend Donald Trump, you are better than this. Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition, which only a week ago hosted Trump at its annual event, condemned the get-together. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks tweeted strong criticism as well.
Until the Ye-Fuentes incident, Trump enjoyed 30% support from U.S. Jewry, mostly from the Orthodox community.
This group holds conservative positions and supports Israel. Based on this, several community leaders supported Trump, who has lamented that many Jews in the U.S. do not support him despite his pro-Israel policies.
But even for Trump’s Jewish supporters, legitimizing people such as Ye and Fuentes crossed a red line. Trump has to convince those Jews that he understands the severity of his error. Otherwise, he might lose their political support.