In recent weeks, key members of the Republican Party have taken deliberate steps to separate and distance themselves from former President Donald Trump. Some have even publically spoken out against him especially in the wake of his not-so-surprising announcement that he intends to run for president again.
But days after he reportedly not only allowed an avowed white supremacist to enter his home and have dinner with him at Mar-a-Lago but also was flattered by his presence, those same prominent Republicans couldn’t be quieter. Their silence speaks volumes about where the Republican Party’s true allegiances may lie in 2022.
To recap, on Tuesday, a declared presidential candidate entertained the very racist and Holocaust-denying Nick Fuentes and then had nice things to say about him afterward, feigning ignorance about the white supremacist’s damning reputation.
A source familiar with the dinner conversation told Axios that Trump “seemed very taken” with Fuentes, impressed that the 24-year-old was able to rattle off statistics and recall speeches dating back to his 2016 campaign.
- Paraphrasing the conversation, the source said Fuentes told the president he preferred him to be “authentic,” and that Trump seemed scripted and unlike himself during his recent 2024 campaign announcement speech.
- Trump responded, “You like it better when I just speak off the cuff,” the source said. Fuentes replied that he did, calling Trump an “amazing” president when he was unrestrained. “There was a lot of fawning back and forth,” the source added.
As of Saturday morning — more than three days after the reported dinner confirmed by Trump — it’s hard to find a Republican voice in opposition to the meeting.
Now, did we already know that Trump rubs shoulders with white supremacists? Of course!
However, should that fact lessen the severity of his dinner with and seeming validation of Fuentes? Of course not!
For a point of reference, Fuentes — the half-Mexican American leader of a Christian-based extremist white nationalist group who is constantly peddling hate and even promoting violence against immigrants — was seen on video advocating for a “white uprising” and for Trump to run for president.
“We need to have something like a white uprising, politically speaking, gain control of social media—maybe just get rid of Congress altogether after that happens,” Fuentes said on the video. “Here’s the pathway. We have one more election where white people can make the decision. But white people gotta make the right decision and then Trump’s gotta get in there and never leave.”
“It’s time to shut up, elect Trump and then stop having elections,” he added.
Should Trump win back the White House in 2024, the fact that he is continuing to unabashedly align himself with white supremacists like Fuentes and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West — who was in attendance at the dinner, too — should be troubling to anyone who calls themselves a defender of democracy.
That said, the apparent hypocrisy from Republicans is astounding as we can only imagine the response had, say, former President Barack Obama allowed the Black Hebrew Israelites to enter his home and break bread before downplaying the meeting to the press.
There would at the very least be outrage expressed from the top levels of Republican leadership, just as people like former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy have spoken out against Trump’s next run for president.
Trump’s own former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said just last week that Trump is “unfit for office.”
However, the silence from Esper and other notable Republicans failing to publicly condemn the meeting between Trump and a white supremacist bolsters the suspicions that they’re not as bothered by it as they were when *checks notes* Obama wore a tan suit on one sunny August day.
This is America.