Donald Trump sharply criticised rapper Kanye West and ramped up his efforts to distance himself from a recent meeting between the two as the fallout over Mr Trump’s association with Mr West’s campaign advisers continues.
Mr Trump issued a statement via Truth Social calling the rapper a “seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black” and once again denied knowing Nick Fuentes, the white nationalist and racist who latched on to Mr West amid his increasingly erratic spiral into hate speech and the utter destruction of his musical career.
“So I help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed “advice.” He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years,” claimed the former president.
He added: “I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win. Fake News went CRAZY!”
It isn’t clear why Mr Trump thought it pertinent to mention Mr West’s race.
The president’s remarks come as he faces a sharp backlash from many on the right for his embrace of Mr Fuentes, who in the past has engaged in Holocaust denial on his livestreams and has endorsed the concept of segregation in the American south. Like Mr West, he is a frequent user of anti-Jewish rhetoric and has openly talked about his desire to guide the modern US conservative political movement towards antisemitism.
The rapper West has been surrounding himself with an ever-expanding circle of right-wing grifters as his embrace of anti-Jewish rhetoric (and the resulting backlash) continues. Supposedly leading his revived efforts to run for the presidency is Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart News writer who was ousted from conservative circles in disgrace and vowed to burn the Republican Party to the ground in 2020 after making comments seen as minimising the harm caused by pedophilia and the rape of minors. He has also made favourable comments about journalists being murdered and made exceedingly racist comments about comedian Leslie Jones and others.
Mr Trump’s meeting with those odious figures has resulted in a newfound wave of condemnations throughout the GOP — even his loyalist former secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, condemned the move (while not actually mentioning his boss or Mr West by name), as he prepares to potentially challenge Mr Trump for the 2024 nomination.
Others, like former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, have commented on how the meeting demonstrates a massive lack of judgement from Mr Trump and his inner circle; many watchers in the media have agreed, speculating about how two figures with such extensive ties to the extreme racist right would make it past Mr Trump’s advisers to a private meeting with the former president.