The Republican governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson charged former president Donald Trump with encouraging extremism. Even though Trump said the encounter was unintentional, some Republicans condemned him on Sunday for having dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes at the former president's Mar-A-Lago club in Florida.
Trump announced earlier this month that he intends to run for president again in 2024 and seek the Republican nomination, albeit he may encounter opposition, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Asa Hutchinson, the outgoing governor of Arkansas, was one of the first Republicans to hold Donald Trump accountable for his meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes last week. Questions on the meeting, which took place on Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago and featured rapper Kanye West, were directed to Hutchinson, a two-term governor of Arkansas.
"I don't think it's a good idea for a leader who's setting an example for the country or the party to meet with an avowed racist or anti-Semite," Hutchinson said.
The U.S. Justice Department has labeled Fuentes a white supremacist, and he was present at the Washington protest on January 6, 2021, which preceded the attack on the Capitol by Trump loyalists.
Fuentes once "'jokingly' denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven,'" according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Trump said that the incident with Fuentes took place during a dinner last week with the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who has also come under fire for making anti-Semitic remarks.
In a post on his Truth Social Facebook page, Trump claimed that Ye was the subject of their meeting and that "we got along great, he expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on 'Tucker Carlson.'"
"Why wouldn't I agree to meet? Also, I didn't know Nick Fuentes," Donald Trump wrote.
"Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America - including at Mar-A-Lago," the White House blasted Trump in a statement.
President Joe Biden waved off a question from reporters about the incident, saying, "You don't want to hear what I think."
Republican Kentucky legislator James Comer stated that Trump needed to have"better judgment (on) who he dines with." adding that he was not someone he would like to meet.
Former Trump envoy to Israel David Friedman stated on Twitter that anti-Semites"deserve no quarter among American leaders, right or left." Adding that even a social visit from an anti-Semite like Kanye West and human slime like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable.