Last week, Donald Trump hosted the rapper Kanye West—who recently made headlines with a series of anti-Semitic outbursts—for dinner at his Mar-a-Lago home. Also present was Nick Fuentes, a far-right provocateur, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier. The former president has since sought to distance himself from Fuentes, and claims he was not aware beforehand that West planned to bring him as a guest. Jay Nordlinger comments on the incident:
When an ex-president sups with anti-Semites, and notorious ones, does it aid the normalization of anti-Semitism? I think it does. What presidents do matters, and what ex-presidents do matters. They are leaders. They are in the public eye. They set tones, for better or worse.
Following the dinner, Trump got a lot of criticism, true. But I caution: there is always a lot of criticism en route to normalization.
Earlier this year, two congressmen spoke at Fuentes’s America First Political Action Conference: Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, and Paul Gosar, of Arizona. Both are Republicans. Greene, I wrote, “was the star speaker.” And “the number-two star, probably, was” the organizer himself: Fuentes.
It is possible to make too much of anti-Semitism (and too much of racism and other evil things). It is possible to make too little of it. You don’t need to be looking for anti-Semites under every bed. Then again, many are jumping up and down on the bed. If I had to err, I would err on the side of making too much of anti-Semitism. An excess of vigilance is not a bad thing. The record of anti-Semitism is catastrophic.