After having dinner with a Holocaust denier and the artist formerly known as Kanye West just days after announcing his third bid for the White House, former president Donald Trump was criticized by former vice president Mike Pence on Monday and urged to apologize.
“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and Holocaust denier, a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize for it. And he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification,” Pence said.
Nevertheless, Pence, thinking about making a run against his former employer, said he does not think Trump is antisemitic or racist and that if he were, he would not have been Trump’s vice president.
However, he continued, “I think the President showed terrible judgment by giving those people a seat at the table, and as I said, I think he should apologize for it. He ought to condemn them categorically.
Trump dined with West, now known as Ye, and Nick Fuentes, a far-right activist with a lengthy history of antisemitic and white nationalist remarks, last Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago club.
Trump said that before the meeting, he had “never met and knew nothing about” Fuentes, who had been with Ye.
But up to this point, he has declined to acknowledge or condemn the views of either Fuentes or Ye, who in recent weeks made several antisemitic remarks of his own, leading to his suspension from social media platforms and the termination of his relationships with significant businesses like Adidas.
Jewish organizations and individuals have criticized the meeting, including the Zionist Organization of America, which gave Trump an award just two days before the start of his campaign, Trump’s former ambassador to Israel, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is now a vocal opponent of Trump’s in the 2024 election.
Christie told The New York Times, “This is just another example of Donald Trump’s appalling lack of judgment, which, along with his prior poor judgment, make him an unacceptable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024.”
Another prospective rival for the White House in 2024, Mike Pompeo, a former secretary of state under Trump, condemned antisemitism on Saturday without mentioning the meal or the president.
But other prominent Republicans, many of whom are considering opposing Trump for the GOP nomination, have so far kept quiet, demonstrating the power Trump still wields over the party despite being held responsible for their worse-than-expected performance in the midterm elections.