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Trump ‘needs better judgment in who he dines with,’ says GOP Rep. James Comer

The former president is facing backlash after dining with rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., criticized Donald Trump on Sunday for dining with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida last week.

“Well, he certainly needs better judgment in who he dines with,” Comer said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” "I know that he’s issued a statement. He said he didn’t know who those people were."

Pressed about whether he condemns Trump’s actions, Comer said he would not take a meeting with “that person,” nor Ye.

“But that’s my opinion,” Comer said.

Former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home on Nov. 15, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

After the news of the dinner broke, Trump's 2024 campaign went into damage control mode. Fuentes, a far-right activist and Holocaust denier, is reportedly helping Ye, who recently lost major endorsements deals for having made antisemitic remarks, with his second presidential campaign, said a person familiar with the dinner conversation.

In a statement posted to his Truth Social platform, Trump claimed that Ye “unexpectedly” showed up at Mar-a-Lago with “three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about” — in reference to Fuentes, Trump 2016 campaign director Karen Giorno and another man who was a Ye associate, sources familiar with the dinner said.

Trump, who described the dinner on the back patio as “quick and uneventful," is facing backlash for having dined with Ye and Fuentes.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that the dinner is "very troubling, and it shouldn't happen."

"We need to avoid those kinds of empowering the extremes,” Hutchinson said. “And when you meet with people, you empower. And that’s what you have to avoid. You want to diminish their strength, not empower them. Stay away from them.”

Hutchinson added that Trump did not have an “accidental meeting” with Ye: “You have got to be absolutely clear in your communication that this is not acceptable dogma, it’s not acceptable conversation, it’s not acceptable history, and you have to disavow it."

The dinner grew heated after Ye — who announced another run for president in 2024 on Thursday — asked Trump to be his running mate, the sources said. 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was once a Trump ally, was among a handful of Republicans who jabbed Trump for hosting Fuentes.

Christie said in an interview with The New York Times, “This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024."