Spare me the fake Republican shock over Trump dinner guests
While it’s nearly impossible to think of a headline that Donald J. Trump didn’t relish, no matter the scandalous implications, he might just be getting sick of the never-ending loop of stories on his now infamous dinner with rabid anti-Semite Kanye West and noted white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
It was a dinner that begged the question: If you three are here, who’s watching hell?
Thanks in part to a slow holiday weekend news cycle, as well as the three participants’ refusal to let the story die, the Gathering of Ghouls at Mar-a-Lago last week is still all anyone can talk about.
As of this writing, associated hashtags were still trending on Twitter. The story was still on the homepages of the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN.com, the New York Post, and even the conservative Washington Examiner. On Mediaite.com, a roundup of political headlines, there were seven related stories on the site’s homepage.
Now, I suppose the idea of a dinner where the former president of the United States, a mentally unstable anti-Semitic rapper, and a neo-Nazi white supremacist meet to discuss the 2024 election and which of them should be on the top of the ticket is newsworthy. I guess it does sound somewhat deranged.
But I’ll be honest — I don’t get what all the fuss is about. In fact, I find the outrage and shock over this story confounding and almost comical. Because let’s face it, if ever there were a dog-bites-man story, it’s this one, right?
The self-serving and seemingly oblivious condemnations have poured in.
Former Vice President Mike Pence — the one who won’t say whether Trump is fit to be president again despite the fact that he could have died at the hands of Trump supporters on Jan. 6 — used some strong words against his former boss: “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite and 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.”
(No word yet on how long Pence intends to wait for that apology before he does nothing about it.)
Trump’s one-time Jewish allies — the ones who previously looked past Trump’s penchant for using anti-Semitic tropes — have finally had enough (for now). One, who seemingly just discovered this hideous quirk, said that Trump “legitimizes Jew hatred and Jew haters…and this scares me.”
Others from Trump world, including his own former ambassador to Israel, have joined Republican leaders and some right-wing personalities in expressing their dismay.
The dinner, in fact, was so unseemly and ill-advised that some are purporting it was one big troll, a set up to mess with Trump and foil his 2024 re-election efforts — as if “entrapping” Trump with two bigots would somehow hurt his reputation among his base.
But when it comes to lack of self-awareness, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reaction may just be the coup de grace.
“There is no room in the Republican Party for anti-Semitism or white supremacy,” he said Tuesday. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”
Is that a joke?
For Never Trumpers like me, who were hip to Trump’s not-at-all-obscured dog whistles early on, and feared the subversive and ugly elements he’d welcome into the Republican Party if he became their nominee for president, this would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn infuriating.
One only needs to review a cursory list of examples that show McConnell’s bizarre mandate is provably, ridiculously false.
The list of GOP electeds and candidates who have attended or spoken at white nationalist rallies, or met with nazi-sympathizers, is long.
Many self-described Nazis and white supremacists have run as Republicans in recent elections.
A number of Republican lawmakers have promoted the great replacement theory — that Democrats want non-whites to replace white voters.
House lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Matt Gaetz, former Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Steve King and others have in recent years been happy to discover there was some room after all in the Republican Party for white nationalism and anti-Semitism.
Then of course there’s Trump himself, the very guy who made room in the Republican Party for these evils, and who continues to court them.
So, who is actually surprised by the Hate Group Hangout Trump either knowingly assembled or merely happened to accidentally convene on purpose? Which Republicans are merely pretending to be shocked? And who among those is actually prepared to do anything about Trump, and more importantly, some of the voters he’s been wooing for years?
I’m guessing not many.
S.E. Cupp is the host of "S.E. Cupp Unfiltered" on CNN.