Nov 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump calls McConnell "loser for our nation" after he condemns Fuentes dinner

Photo of Mitch McConnell speaking on the left and Donald Trump smiling on the right

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) and former President Trump. Photos: Al Drago/Bloomberg and Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Former President Trump insulted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, calling him a "loser for our nation" after McConnell appeared to criticize his decision to have dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and antisemitic rapper Ye.

Why it matters: The dinner has divided the GOP, with some playing it down and others denouncing the move. McConnell said Tuesday that anyone who meets with antisemites or white supremacists is "highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States."

What he's saying: "Mitch is a loser for our nation and for the Republican Party who would not have been re-elected in Kentucky without my endorsement, which he begged me for because he was going down," Trump told Fox News.

  • "His well-financed opponent had $93 million ready to spend when I drove him from two points down to 21 points up in a matter of days."
  • Trump again claimed that he had "never heard of Nick Fuentes" before the dinner.
  • "I had no idea what his views were, and they weren’t expressed at the table in our very quick dinner, or it wouldn't have been accepted."
  • "Nobody has to prove or be defensive of me and Israel," he added. "They have acknowledged that I’m the best friend and president to Israel."

Yes, but: Axios' Jonathan Swan reports that Trump "seemed very taken" and impressed with Fuentes at the dinner, which occurred one week after he declared his 2024 candidacy.

  • Fuentes has espoused several racist conspiracy theories and is a Holocaust denier.
  • Ye, whom Trump says brought Fuentes to the dinner unbidden, has also come under fire in recent weeks for antisemitic remarks.

The big picture: McConnell is one of several Republicans to take a clear stance against the dinner. Former Vice President Mike Pence also criticized Trump on Monday and said he should apologize, though he argued the former president isn't antisemitic.

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said Fuentes has no place in the GOP but falsely claimed that Trump condemned Fuentes after they met at Mar-a-Lago.
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