The backlash over former president Donald Trump’s pre-Thanksgiving meal with antisemitic rapper Kanye West and white nationalist Nick Fuentes has led the twice-impeached ex-president’s aides to revive a 2020-era measure used to keep him from embarrassing himself while Mr Trump is reportedly blaming the disgraced musician for the negative press.
According to a source who spoke to NBC News, Mr Trump has directed his anger at Mr West, who just two years ago waged a third-party presidential campaign aimed at siphoning votes off from Joe Biden to help the then-president win reelection.
“He tried to f*** me. He’s crazy. He can’t beat me,” the ex-president said, referring to Mr West’s stated intention to mount another campaign for the presidency with an eye towards the 2024 general election.
According to reports, it was Mr West who brought Mr Fuentes, a Holocaust denier and white nationalist who has long been one of Mr Trump’s most vocal supporters, to the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago club last week.
NBC reported that the dinner was initially supposed to be a two-man affair for Mr Trump to sit down with his friend in the wake of the Mr West’s public expulsion by multiple business partners who no longer wanted to be associated with him following a series of racist and antisemitic remarks on social media and elsewhere.
Instead, Mr West (who now legally goes by the mononym “Ye”) brought a trio of guests including Mr Fuentes, an ex-campaign aide Karen Giorno, and online troll, former Breitbart News staffer Milo Yiannopoulos.
In response to the nearly universal and bipartisan outrage from the news that Mr Trump broke bread with the controversial figures, aides to Mr Trump are making arrangements to keep at least one staffer from his nascent presidential campaign at his side at nearly all times.
The decision revives a similar arrangement that was in place during his presidency to keep him from coming across people who could bring political headaches for him.
While access to Mr Trump was tightly controlled during his White House years thanks to strict security protocols, at his Mar-a-Lago estate he is known to walk freely about and interact with members who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for the privilege.
With additional reporting by agencies