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'Silence is complicity': Biden calls on political leaders to denounce antisemitism

A number of Republicans have distanced themselves from Ye, who recently dined with Trump, after the rapper's antisemitic interview with a conspiracy theorist.
Image: President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Dec. 2, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Friday.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Friday called out "political leaders" who have not strongly denounced antisemitism, saying that their "silence is complicity."

"I just want to make a few things clear: The Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity," the president wrote on Twitter.

His comments follow a widely criticized interview Thursday between conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Ye praised Hitler, expressed his admiration for Nazis, made antisemitic jokes and talked about his recent dinner at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump, which was also attended by Nick Fuentes, a far-right figure who has espoused white nationalist views.

Trump, who launched his 2024 presidential bid last month, has faced backlash from Democrats, Jewish groups and some Republicans for the dinner, even though he has denied knowing who Fuentes was.

Trump has blamed Ye for bringing Fuentes to the dinner and tried to distance himself from both men, writing on his Truth Social platform that he had no idea who Fuentes was and that Ye is a "seriously troubled man."

Several potential 2024 rivals blasted Trump for their sit-down, including his own vice president, Mike Pence, who said the former president “demonstrated profoundly poor judgment.”

“Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table. And I think he should apologize for it and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification,” Pence said Monday in an appearance on NewsNation.

“I don’t believe Donald Trump is an antisemite. I don’t believe he is a racist or a bigot. I would not have been his vice president if he was,” Pence added.

Trump has not explicitly condemned antisemitism following his dinner with Ye and Fuentes, but in an interview with Fox News he said that if Fuentes had expressed his views at their "very quick dinner," it "wouldn't have been accepted."