English journalist Piers Morgan recently went after Donald Trump in an invective I mistakenly mistook for a leftist screed. In “Places where anti-Semites come to eat,” Morgan warns us against a “severely tarnished ex-leader” who agreed to take a meal with Kanye West and shock-jock Groyper Nick Fuentes. Morgan devotes an entire paragraph to telling us what a rotter Fuentes is, that he is a Holocaust-denier who grooves on the Taliban and who has repeatedly expressed misogynist thoughts. Nick even sank to the indignity of describing the January 6 riots as “awesome” and refreshing.” Although someone who claims to be “Israel’s best friend,” the almost equally loathsome Trump, according to Morgan, seems to relish Fuentes’ company. He yearned to have “a friendly dinner” with “Jew-haters,” whom Morgan reminds us, the Zionist Organization of America emphatically condemned. This was the same organization that recently was deluded enough to give Trump its annual Theodor Herzl Medallion.
Undoubtedly Trump was keeping bad company at that dinner at Mar-a-Lago, and if I were his personal adviser, I would have warned him against that event. But as usual I am bothered by the double standard in our political culture. Raphael Warnock and the Saintly Barack are allowed to hang out with Louis Farrakhan and other Nazi apologists, and such despicable company is never held against these supposed warriors for social justice by leftists claiming to be fighting antisemitism. Kanye West has admittedly uttered shocking statements about Jews, but I’m sure this mentally disturbed individual was making similar statements before he became associated with Donald Trump. It was his connection to Trump that made him a person of interest to the Left and to organizations like the ADL. Although Nick Fuentes may be a loose cannon, Morgan should have provided sources for his unsettling charges against him instead of indiscriminately throwing them at the reader.
Clearly Morgan is trying to push Trump out of the presidential race by identifying him with antisemitism and the shocking views ascribed to Fuentes. But there is a difference between not wanting a particular candidate to run for a position and doing what looks like a commissioned hit job. I am not making this accusation as a Trump-partisan and like some others who write for this website, I am a Ron DeSantis, rather than a Trump backer. What bothers me about Morgan’s screed is that he does not offer an honest assessment of Trump and the liabilities that he would bring to a Republican presidential ticket. Unlike Morgan, others have pointed out these problems honestly and objectively.
Morgan does not provide such a service. He runs with the charge that Trump enjoys the company of Jew-haters and then adds the usual boilerplate about Trump’s egomania. Since Trump is a known longtime friend of Benjamin Netanyahu who shares his positions on Middle Eastern policies, turning this former president into an ally of antisemites who decided to “pretend that he had no idea who Fuentes is” does not seem to be a convincing narrative. Given Trump’s lifelong Jewish connections, why would I not believe that he was not acquainted with Fuentes’ anti-Jewish opinions before the dinner? I am also asked to think the worst about Trump’s motives because his political rival Chris Christie found his dining arrangement “unacceptable.” By the way, it is not even clear from Morgan’s diatribe that Fuentes or West expressed antisemitic thoughts during the dinner that Trump should not have agreed to attend.
What I personally find most disturbing about Trump’s taste in dinner companions is his burgeoning friendship with West. Having listened to Nick and Kanye both, I find there is a perceptible difference in how each comes across to an open-minded listener. Fuentes, whom I’ve heard on podcasts, can be charming and reasonable even if he holds nutty positions that are not immediately apparent. Kanye, by contrast, offers a stream of consciousness approach to interpreting reality, marked by disconnected, emotionally charged opinions. The former is certainly someone you can converse with over dinner, while the latter strikes me as a difficult character who just babbles on and on. As a writer on political movements, I can understand the genealogy of Nick’s ideas; while it is hard to figure out where Kanye is coming from, except possibly a mental institution. Moreover, since Trump likes to hear himself talk, I wonder how he can sit for hours listening to Kanye’s incoherent monologues.
John Zmirak notes that Trump has not been particularly good in recent years at picking friends and allies: “In 2016, bad advice led Trump to appoint appalling RINOs like Nikki Haley and Christopher Wray and endorse the treacherous likes of Mitt Romney and John McCain.” Alas Trump’s judgment was even worse in his choice of dinner companions last week, although not as profoundly contemptible as NeverTrumper Piers Morgan would have us to believe. To his credit, however, the former president began screaming at Kanye when the rap singer proposed becoming his running mate for 2024.