WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGHP) – U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), co-chair of a House committee to combat antisemitism, issued a sharp rebuke of “brazen” former President Donald Trump, saying she is “deeply disturbed” that he had dinner with an avowed white supremacist.
Trump shared a pre-Thanksgiving meal at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, with rapper Kanye West – now called “Ye” – and Nick Fuentes, a hate-spewing Holocaust denier who Trump said tagged along without his knowledge.
Fuentes is described by the Anti-Defamation League as a “white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.” He has presented in various forums his condemnations for Black people, women, members of the Jewish faith, LGBTQ people and immigrants, among others.
Fuentes spoke at the deadly rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and he also supported Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Trump defended the dinner by saying he didn’t know who Fuentes was or that he was going to be a guest of Ye, who also has been the subject of much backlash for his antisemitic positions. Trump called West “seriously troubled” in his explanation of why he invited him to dinner.
Manning, recently elected for her second term representing the 6th Congressional District, is one of 27 Jewish members of the House – there are 10 in the Senate, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – and cochairs the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism.
“It is deeply disturbing to see Nick Fuentes, a known Holocaust denier and white nationalist, consulting with Former President Trump, who recently announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election,” Manning said Tuesday in a statement issued by her staff. “Trump’s brazen, public embracement of antisemites encourages his base to espouse these heinous views and incites violence against the Jewish people.
“Antisemitic violence is rising and dangerous conspiracy theories, like the Great Replacement Theory, are spreading rapidly. History shows us what happens when antisemitism goes unchecked; we must speak out and condemn hate and bigotry in every form.
“I call on Republican leaders to denounce the Former President’s actions.”
NC delegates’ responses
Her calls, for now, have not been largely heeded by her colleagues from North Carolina. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) has heard some criticism for his relatively mild response to Trump’s dinner, and retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said he “could care less.”
“If the reports are true and the president didn’t know who [Fuentes] was, whoever let him in the room should be fired,” NBC Senior National Political Reporter Sahil Kapur quoted Tillis as saying.
Burr told The Hill that he “could care less who they have dinner with. Do I look like somebody that cared?”
Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance), recently elected to succeed Burr in the Senate, has not commented on his Twitter account. His senior adviser did not respond immediately to an email seeking comment.
Neither did spokespersons for incumbent members of the House, including Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk), Richard Hudson (R-Moore County), Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) or Patrick McHenry (R-Denver), all of whom either represent counties in the Piedmont Triad or will as of January.
Newly elected Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-Durham), whose 4th District will include Alamance County in January, has not commented. Neither have fellow Democratic freshmen Don Davis of the 1st District nor Jeff Jackson of the 14th District nor Republican Chuck Edwards of the 11th.
None of the incumbents from both parties representing the remaining districts in North Carolina have posted comments, either.
Details of dinner
Republicans on a national scale, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former presidential candidate and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) have decried Fuentes’ hateful positions, but some have given Trump a pass at being responsible for the dinner.
NBC News described in detail how the group came to dine on the evening of Nov. 22 and how Fuentes and Ye found themselves at Trump’s table. Ye said Trump was “really impressed” with Fuentes, and Trump’s advisers said he was tricked.
NBC reported that Ye criticized Trump for not doing enough to help pay the legal bills of those arrested in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and angered Trump with comments about who should be running with whom. Trump was said to have attacked Ye’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. Ye also posted a “Mar-a-Lago debrief” video to his 32.2 million Twitter followers.