Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the latest Republican to weigh in on Donald Trump’s recent dinner at Mar-a-Lago with rapper and fellow presidential candidate, Ye. As we previously reported, Ye brought along a guest: white nationalist Nick Fuentes. News of the meeting spread like wildfire across social media and everyone had an opinion, from “Who’s Nick Fuentes?” to “What in the *bleep* was Trump thinking?”
Unprompted, McConnell began his Tuesday presser with his own thoughts … and they’re pretty straightforward.
McConnell: "There is no room in the Republican Party for anti-Semitism or white supremacy And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view in my judgment are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.” pic.twitter.com/73gfsKjn8j
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 29, 2022
He did not mention Trump by name, but McConnell’s point is clear: You’d best be more discerning about with whom you associate. Trump, of course, recently announced he’d be making a third and final run for the White House. His announcement was described by many as “low energy” and this controversy, on the heels of that sleepy start, certainly form serious headwinds for these important, early days of his campaign.
Hoping to stave off criticism, Trump released two statements about Ye’s visit. Statement one said:
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” he said in his first statement. “Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”
When that didn’t stop the questions surrounding the dinner guests, Trump issued a second statement:
“Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, was asking me for advice concerning some of his difficulties, in particular having to do with his business,” Trump said in his second statement. “We also discussed, to a lesser extent, politics, where I told him he should definitely not run for President, ‘any voters you may have should vote for TRUMP.’”
“Anyway, we got along great, he expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson.’ Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes,” he said.
Many question how these uninvited guests made their way past the former president’s staff and the Secret Service. Trump might not have known who Nick Fuentes was, but the internet certainly does.
Current House Majority Leader and incoming Speaker of the House (or maybe not), Kevin McCarthy, also had some thoughts about the dinner. Per Fox News:
“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy said. “He has no place in this Republican Party.”
McCarthy, though, seemingly defended Trump, saying he had come out “four times and condemned” Fuentes, adding that he “didn’t know who he was.”
When pressed further on Fuentes, McCarthy said: “I condemn his ideology. It has no place in society.”
Trump and McCarthy are close. Trump has endorsed McCarthy for Speaker and sees McCarthy as a rare ally in D.C. Their relationship causes some problems for candidate Trump, however, as his campaign promises hinge on “draining the swamp.”
With the 2024 presidential campaign already upon us, there is a necessary battle brewing within the Republican Party. Party stalwarts like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are part of the old guard, but the old guard not only still holds sway, they’re also integral parts of the fundraising machine that helps the GOP win.