Press: Guess who’s coming to dinner at Mar-a-Lago
For Donald Trump, it couldn’t happen at a worse time. He wants everybody to talk about how wonderful it is that he’s running for president again. Instead, everybody’s talking about how insane it was for him to host Kanye West and Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Americans haven’t been so shocked by a surprise dinner guest since 1967 and the blockbuster film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” in which Joanna Drayton, a 23-year-old white woman, showed up at her parents’ home with her fiancé, John Prentice, a 37-year-old Black man.
But at least that movie had a happy ending, unlike this debacle. Trump’s response to the hullabaloo over his dinner guests shows how clueless he is about — well, everything.
First, never accepting blame for anything himself, he blamed West, who now goes by Ye, for bringing a surprise guest. That is nonsense. In my career as political activist and journalist, I’ve been around several presidents. Nobody gets close to a president or former president unannounced, let alone have dinner with them. Nobody.
Which, of course, begs the question: Forget, for a moment, about Nick Fuentes — why was Trump having dinner with West in the first place? Surely, Trump knew that West had been dropped by many sponsors, including Adidas and Balenciaga, for his own antisemitic remarks. On Oct. 9, West tweeted that he was “going death con 3 on Jewish people.” He was recently named a finalist for “Anti-Semite of the Year” by the organization StopAntisemitism.org — a strange credential for being invited to have dinner with a former president.
Second, Trump insists he had no idea who Fuentes was before wining and dining with him. Again, nonsense. Fuentes could never be accused of hiding his hatred for Jews and Blacks under a rock. He shouts it from the rooftop, despite often excusing his views as political irony. He told Jews to shut up about the Holocaust: “I’ve heard enough about this Holocaust. I’ve heard enough about it … . The real Holocaust was Jesus Christ being crucified.” In April, he proposed “discussing Jewish Power” as the next big agenda for Republicans. In February 2022, he bragged on his “America First” broadcast: “I’m just like Hitler.”
That same month, as an avowed white Christian nationalist, Fuentes declared his mission: “America, for what it’s worth, was founded by white Christians. … Christianity is the religion of this nation. Not Judaism, not the Talmud, not that stuff. … And, if we’re going to make America great again, we’ve gotta talk about this anti-white thing that’s going on.”
No surprise, Fuentes attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 where marchers chanted “Jews shall not replace us.” He was also present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, even though he did not enter the building. He later praised the attack on the Capitol as “awesome.”
And Trump’s reaction on meeting Fuentes? “I really like this guy,” Trump reportedly told West. “He gets me.” And to this day, one whole week since their dinner together, Trump has not issued one word of condemnation for the hate-filled rhetoric spewed against Blacks and Jews by both West and Fuentes.
So why should we be surprised? This is the same man who also insisted he knew nothing about David Duke, who insisted there were some “very fine people” among white supremacists in Charlottesville, and who urged the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” We’re just lucky Trump’s not still in the White House. He might have invited Fuentes to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”