Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has accused former US President Donald Trump of empowering extremism after Trump dinned with white supremacist Nick Fuentes his in Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
"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 told CNN on Sunday.
However, Trump said that the encounter was inadvertent. He blamed Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, for the dinner in which Trump said Ye brought along the white supremacist.
Trump said on Truth Social that Ye brought far-right activist Nick Fuentes to the dinner on Tuesday night and that he did not know who Fuentes was.
“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,” Trump wrote, “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,” the former president added. “I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win. Fake News went CRAZY!”
Trump earlier this month announced he plans to seek the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024, though he could face challengers to that bid, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Trump’s embrace of a white nationalist unsettled some of his one-time administration officials.
Trump has a "very long history," going back to his father, of being a white supremacist, according to a political analyst and a former congressional candidate.
"As a landlord in New York, he clearly was overtly racist in his practices and passed along these traits to Donald when he started to be involved in the housing and rental industry,” Hoenig told Press TV.
“Throughout his 2016 campaign, he targeted non-whites, especially Latinos, classifying all of them as drug dealers, criminals, rapists,” he added.
“His entire immigration policy is to refuse entry to people from what he calls shithole countries and bring in people from places like Norway,” Hoenig said. “During the Charlottesville Neo-nazi rally, where one woman was murdered, Trump said there were good people on both sides.”
The White House slammed Trump, saying in a statement that "bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America — including at Mar-A-Lago."
President Joe Biden however ducked a question about Trump's dinner: "You don't wanna hear what I think."