The Donald Trump team is doing damage control.
The former president faced additional backlash this week after he met with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, a far-right conspiracy theorist who’ known for his white supremacist ideology. The three dined together Tuesday at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida; however, Trump insisted he had no idea who Fuentes was prior to the dinner.
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”
Three anonymous sources told NBC News that Trump was not familiar with Fuentes before Tuesday’s get-together. Two of those insiders were described as Trump advisers, and the third was said to be a person who was “familiar with the dinner conversation,” but not involved in Trump’s campaign.
“This is a fucking nightmare,” a Trump adviser said, suggesting the dinner could potentially harm his 2024 presidential bid. “If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here’s another reason why.”
The sources, however, claimed that Trump’s aforementioned statement wasn’t completely true. Though the ex-president insisted he didn’t know the three people who accompanied Kanye to the dinner, the insiders said one of those “friends” was Karen Giorno—a political strategist who served as the Trump campaign’s Florida director in 2016. The sources said Trump knew Giorno by “name and sight.”
Kanye took to Twitter on Thursday to share details about the Mar-a-Lago dinner. He claimed Trump was “really impressed with Fuentes.
“… And Nick Fuentes, unlike so many of the lawyers, and so many of the people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist,” Ye said in the video, titled Mar-a-Lago debrief.
Kanye also claimed he had asked Trump to be his 2024 running mate—a request that allegedly caused the former president to lose his temper.
“When Trump started basically screaming at me at the table telling me I was gonna lose,” Ye said in the video. “I mean, has that ever worked for anyone in history? I’m like, ‘Woah woah, hold on, hold on, Trump. You’re talking to Ye.’”