Sunday, December 04, 2022

“Racism, antisemitism and denial of the Holocaust have no place in the Republican Party and are completely un-American.”

by Rod Williams, Dec. 3, 2022- A couple days before Thanksgiving, Donald Trump had a private dinner with Kanye West and alt-right leader Nick Fuentes. This has created a firestorm.

During Trump's presidency and campaign, Black rapper Kanye West had become an outspoken admirer of Donald Trump. Kanye West has recently seen his star fade, however. He has lost lucrative business deals and has become somewhat of an outcast for making antisemitic remarks and praising Hitler. He is no longer welcome in polite society. It appears to many that West may suffer from mental illness.  

I have never cared for Kanye West. Of course, I find rap music disgusting and harmful to society, and have a hard time admiring any rapper.  I know that is a generalization and there may be some wholesome rappers who are good people but in general, the music glorifies thuggery and objectifies women.  It is crude and offensive.

When I think of Kanye West I remember West interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2019 to say that her video didn't deserve an award. He said instead the award should have gone to Beyoncé.  My thought at the time was, "what a jerk."

Why Trump chose to have dinner with Kanye West, (who now goes by the name "Ye"), I don't know.  I do not see an upside to Trump meeting with him. Possibly, Trump's association with Ye will improve his standing in the Black Community, but maybe not.   I don't know if the Black community is standing by Ye or not. 

It may make Trump more popular with anti-Semites, but there are not that many of them.  They are not a significant voting block. Maybe Trump just likes the guy; maybe Trump likes anyone who is loyal to him and will sing his praises. Maybe Trump is not that calculating.  Maybe Trump was not going to ditch a friend when he was down and thought it would be a quiet non-public, non-eventful dinner.

If so, then why also have dinner with Nick Fuentes?  The way it is being reported is that Kanye simply showed up with Fuente and Trump did not know him.  That is hard to believe.  Trump has Secret Service protection.  Trump is a hated figure.  One would think that his dinner guest would be vetted. Hard as it is to believe that Trump was unaware and that Ye just showed up with Fuentes, it looks like that is what happened. NBC news is certainly no fan of Donald Trump and it reports that that is what happened.  To read the NBC report of the dinner, follow this link

The agenda of West and Fuentes appeared to be to criticize Trump for not doing more to support those arrested in the Jan. 6th insurrection and to implore Trump not to abandon his base. Trump fumed afterward that Ye had betrayed him by ambushing him. 

Ye may be a pathetic figure, not very well educated, and one who suffers from mental illness. Fuente is beyond a doubt the real-deal racist and antisemite, however.  This is an excerpt from a piece in National Review and what it had to say about Fuente:

Fuentes. He once called a writer a “race traitor” because he “work[s] for Jews.” He opposes interracial marriage and has praised segregation.

“Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? Oh, they had to drink out of a different water fountain, big f***ing deal. Oh no, they had to go to a different school,” Fuentes said in one video. “It’s better for them, it’s better for us.”

“I’m getting really sick of world Jewry — that’s what it is! what it is! — running the show, and we can’t talk about it,” he said in another video.

In yet another video, he joyfully promoted grotesque claims denying that millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Smirking and laughing, he read a question from a viewer who was obviously comparing murdered Jews to cookies and Adolph Hitler to Cookie Monster: “If I take one hour to cook a batch of cookies, and Cookie Monster has fifteen hours working every day for five years, how long does it take Cookie Monster to make six million batches of cookies?”

“The math doesn’t seem to add up there,” Fuentes says. “Maybe two-hundred to three-hundred thousand cookies,” he adds before making several more references to bits of propaganda cited by Holocaust deniers. 

So, Trump had lunch with a White Nationalist and a holocaust denier. So what?  Does that mean Trump is a white nationalist or anti-semite?    I don't think so.  Trump's son-in-law is an orthodox Jew and Trump has long had close friendships with African Americans and Jews.  

Unfortunately, Trump has repeatedly put himself in a position to be identified as friendly to bigots and anti-Semites. He falsely accused Barack Obama of not being a natural-born citizen, and he categorized most Mexican migrants as rapists and drug runners, instead of denouncing the support of David Duke he claimed not to know who he was, and during the Tiki torch Unite the Right rally Trump said there were many good people on both sides. 

Back during the 50's when the modern conservative movement was formed, leaders such as William F. Buckley worked hard to purge anti-Semites, racists, and nutty conspiracy theorists from the movement.  Now, unfortunately, almost seventy years later those unsavory elements have again found a welcoming environment in the Republican Party.

Trump should, in unmistakable terms, denounce bigotry and anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, Trump is one to never back down or admit that he is wrong.  Call him a bigot for a mistake he has made and he won't back down but will double down.

Anti-Semitism and bigotry is not exclusive to the right, of course, Prominent Democrats will share a stage with and show respect to notorious anti-Semetic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is an established anti-Semetic figure in Congress, yet the Party shows no inclination to censor her or strip her of her committee assignments. So, while both parties tolerated anti-Semites, the Republican Party gets the White Nationalist.  Also, while both parties may tolerate anti-Semites and bigots, it is the leader of the Republican Party that sits down and has a meal with them. 

While I wish more Republicans and especially conservative commentators and media would take the Trump dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes as an opportunity to condemn bigotry and antisemitism, I am pleased with those who have spoken out. Below is an excerpt from National Review article, listing some of the Republican responses. 

Georgia Republican governor Brian Kemp, fresh off a resounding reelection victory, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Racism, antisemitism and denial of the Holocaust have no place in the Republican Party and are completely un-American.”

“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites,” Louisiana GOP senator Bill Cassidy wrote on Twitter on Monday. “These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.”

Former vice president Mike Pence said in a NewsNation interview: “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a 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.”

Florida’s senior GOP senator Marco Rubio told reporters in the Capitol on Monday that Fuentes is an “evil . . . a**clown” who was “legitimized” by Trump’s meeting.

“There’s no room in the Republican Party for white supremacists and antisemitism, so it’s wrong,” Florida’s junior GOP senator Rick Scott said. “I think Republicans should all condemn white supremacy and antisemitism.”

Utah GOP senator Mitt Romney said: “There’s no bottom to the degree which he’s willing to degrade himself and the country for that matter. Having dinner with those people was disgusting.”

Montana GOP senator Steve Daines said: “We cannot tolerate antisemitism. Period.”

Maine GOP senator Susan Collins said: “I condemn white supremacy and antisemitism. The president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes.”

On Sunday, Nebraska GOP congressman Don Bacon told reporters: “I am appalled.”

Arkansas GOP governor Asa Hutchinson told CNN on Sunday: “This was not an accidental meeting. It was a set-up dinner with Kanye. . . . You have to disavow it. It is as simple as that.”

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said: “This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump.”

This is great as far as it goes.  However, many are going to be dismissive of Susan Collins, Chis Christie, and Mitt Romney as out-of-touch RINO never-Trumpers.  I want to hear from Ron Desantis, Newt Gingrich, Lindsey Graham, Nicki Haley, and Tim Scot denouncing this normalization of bigotry and antisemitism. I want to see Tucker Carlson condemn it and many more conservative pundits and new conservative media personalities condemn it.  And, I want to see my Facebook friends denounce it. 

I believe in a 'big tent" conservative movement, but not big enough for Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. Anti-Semitism, denial of the Holocaust, and White nationalism should have no place in the Republican Party.

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