House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was early Tuesday about how he hadn’t yet condemned former President Donald Trump for having dinner a week ago with Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist and Holocaust denier.
McCarthy said, “I don’t think anyone should spend time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him, not knowing who he was.”
A reporter replied, “Well, he just said he didn’t know who he was. He did not condemn him or his ideology.”
McCarthy then said, “Well, I condemn his ideology. It has no place in society. Not at all.”
But the reporter was right about Trump.
Facts first: McCarthy’s claim was false: Trump had not condemned Fuentes at the time McCarthy spoke. Trump had made at least four statements about the dinner, each time saying he didn’t know Fuentes, but none of these statements included an indictment of Fuentes.
In yet another statement, released by Fox more than five hours after McCarthy made his remarks on Tuesday, Trump said Fuentes had not expressed his opinion at the dinner and that if Fuentes had, “it would not have been accepted.” This was the closest Trump came to convicting Fuentes.
Here’s what Trump actually said in his public statements about the dinner, which took place last Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Florida.
Fuentes attended dinner with rapper Kanye West, who made anti-Semitic remarks this fall. When the Axios media outlet covered the dinner on Friday, Trump released a statement saying, “Kanye West was very eager to visit Mar-a-Lago. Our dinner meeting was supposed to be just Kanye and me, but he arrived with a guest I had never met and knew nothing about. The statement said nothing negative about Fuentes or his views.
Trump also did not criticize Fuentes or his views in two Friday posts about the dinner on social media platform Truth Social. Trump wrote, among other things, that West had “turned up unexpectedly with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” that the dinner had “passed quickly and quietly,” that West “expressed no anti-Semitism,” and that “I knew Nick Fuentes not.”
Trump repeated this story in a post on Saturday, saying West would only come for advice, but instead showed up “with 3 people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person I haven’t seen in years . .” Again, Trump was not berating Fuentes or his views.
On Tuesday night, more than five hours after McCarthy’s remarks, Fox published an article in which Trump reiterated that he had not heard from Fuentes at the time of the dinner, adding: “I had no idea what his views were, and those were them too.” t expressed at the table during our very fast dinner otherwise it would not have been accepted.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment Tuesday.
This article has been updated to add Trump’s comments to Fox on Tuesday.