Former President Donald Trump’s now notorious dinner meeting with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, who now goes by the name Ye, is most troubling. Ironically, Fuentes is a notorious white supremacist who has had very bad things to say about blacks, and Ye is a black cultural icon who has had very bad things to say about white supremacists. Indeed, the only thing they seem to have in common is their antisemitism.
So, how could it be that people of that ilk broke bread with a former President of the United States responsible for some of the most historic advances of the Jewish people in almost three quarters of a century? These included the long awaited relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the recognition of Israel’s right to settle and retain control of much of Judea and Samaria; the recognition of Israeli rights to the Golan; and, of course, the game-changing Abraham Accords.
Surely, in light of his presidential record vis-à-vis the Jewish state, such a meeting would be counterintuitive. And, of course, Mr. Trump claims that there was an entirely benign reason for meeting Ye, who visited him previously during his tenure in the White House; and that he did not know anything about Fuentes or that he would be at the dinner.
For us, the problem is this: After the meeting, Mr. Trump did know what both of his visitors were about and the impact of receiving them in his home. At a time of rampant antisemitism, with Jews being routinely attacked in the streets, a true leader would have recognized the need to set the record straight and counter the perception that he was okay with his guests’ antisemitism. It was no time for the former president’s signature denial of any wrongdoing in the face of a public misstep.