House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) defended former President Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Tuesday, telling reporters outside the White House that both Republicans condemned far-right leader and white nationalist Nick Fuentes after spending time with him. They did not do that.
“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn’t know who he was,” McCarthy said following a White House meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders.
“She denounced him,” McCarthy added when asked about Greene’s ties to Fuentes.
Last week, Axios reported that Fuentes joined rapper Ye and Trump at a Tuesday night dinner at Mar-A-Lago, a move that sparked outrage and condemnation from some Republicans, while others twisted themselves in knots to denounce white nationalism, but avoid directly criticizing Trump. Others are keeping their mouths shut.
Fuentes is the host of the far-right online show “America First with Nicholas Fuentes,” in which he frequently makes racist, antisemetic and anti-LGBTQ comments. He has hosted the America First Political Action Conference attended by MAGA-loyalist House Freedom Caucus members like Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). (At the time of Greene and Gosar’s appearance at the Fuentes event, McCarthy feigned the same outrage and punished the members by giving them… a stern talking to.)
But despite McCarthy’s public statement on Tuesday, neither Trump nor Greene ever denounced Fuentes. Instead, they both relied on the same unsound excuse — “I didn’t know who he was.”
Following the Axios reports, Trump insisted he didn’t know Fuentes through several different statements.
“I didn’t know Nick Fuentes,” he wrote in one Truth Social post. “Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” he wrote in another post.
But he never once denounced him.
And earlier this year, after speaking at the event organized by Fuentes, Greene claimed she did not know Fuentes or any specifics about his views prior to her decision to speak at the event.
“I do not know Nick Fuentes. I’ve never heard him speak. I’ve never seen a video. I don’t know what his views are, so I’m not aligned with anything that may be controversial,” Greene said after her appearance at the conference.
“I don’t know what his views are,” Greene added. “He’s a white nationalist,” a reporter said, pushing back. “I do not endorse those views,” Greene responded.