House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asked on Tuesday about how he has yet to condemn former President Donald Trump for having dinner with White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes a week ago.
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 has come out and denounced him four times and he didn’t know 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 later said, “I condemn his ideology. He has no place in society. Nothing.”
But the reporter was right about Trump.
Facts First: McCarthy’s claim was wrong: Trump had not denounced Fuentes when McCarthy spoke. Trump made at least four statements about the meal, each time saying he didn’t know Fuentes, but none of those statements included condemnation of Fuentes.
In another statement released by Fox, five hours after McCarthy’s remarks on Tuesday, Trump said Fuentes did not disclose his views at the dinner and “wouldn’t have been accepted” had Fuentes been there. This was the closest Trump came to denouncing Fuentes.
Here’s what Trump actually said in his statements about the dinner that took place at the Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Florida last Tuesday.
Fuentes attended the dinner with rapper Kanye West, who made antisemitic comments this fall. When media outlet Axios reported on Friday’s dinner, Trump made the following statement: “Kanye West really wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. Our luncheon was scheduled for just Kanye and me, but he came in with a guest I had never met and knew nothing about.” nothing negative About Fuentes or his views.
Trump did not criticize Fuentes or his views in his two posts Friday about dinner on social media platform Truth Social. Trump said, among other things, that West “showed up unexpectedly with three of his friends I knew nothing about”, that the meal “passed quickly and uneventfully”, that West “did not express anti-Semitism” and that “I didn’t know Nick Fuentes.
Trump echoed this story in a Saturday post, saying that West should have come alone for advice but instead “appeared with 3 people, two of whom I didn’t know, and the other with a political person I hadn’t seen in years.” Again, Trump did not condemn Fuentes or his views.
On Tuesday evening, more than five hours after McCarthy’s comments, Fox published an article in which Trump reiterated that he had not heard Fuentes during the meal, saying, “I had no idea what their views were, and they were.” It wouldn’t have been accepted if it hadn’t been mentioned at the table at dinner, which we ate too quickly.”
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on Tuesday.
This article has been updated to include Trump’s comments on Fox on Tuesday.