White House on Trump dinner with white supremacist: No place for these 'vile forces'

Trump has said the encounter at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida was inadvertent, but it drew rare criticism from fellow Republicans.

Former US President Donald Trump attends a rally to support Republican candidates ahead of midterm elections, in Dayton, Ohio, US November 7, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/GAELEN MORSE/FILE PHOTO)
Former US President Donald Trump attends a rally to support Republican candidates ahead of midterm elections, in Dayton, Ohio, US November 7, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/GAELEN MORSE/FILE PHOTO)

The White House on Monday joined some Republicans in criticizing former US President Donald Trump for dining with white supremacist Nick Fuentes, saying there is no place in America for "vile forces" such as racism, bigotry and antisemitism.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters she would not comment on every move by Trump, who this month said he would run for president again, but it was critical to condemn such behavior in "really absolute terms."

 White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre conducts a daily press briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Feb. 14, 2022.  (credit: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES/JTA) White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre conducts a daily press briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Feb. 14, 2022. (credit: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES/JTA)

"There is just no place for these types of vile forces in our society," she told reporters. "When you say things like this, when you do not speak out against these kinds of poisonous and dangerous kind of remarks ... that is also incredibly dangerous within itself."

Trump has said the encounter at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida was inadvertent, but it drew rare criticism from fellow Republicans, including Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, who accused Trump of empowering extremism.

Trump 2024

Trump earlier this month said he plans to seek the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024, though he could face challengers to that bid, including from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.The White House had already slammed Trump on Sunday, saying in a statement that "bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America - including at Mar-A-Lago."

Fuentes has been described as a white supremacist by the US Justice Department and he attended the Jan. 6, 2021, rally in Washington that preceded the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. The Anti-Defamation League said Fuentes once "'jokingly' denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven.'"

But Jean-Pierre went further, underscoring the responsibility of all to speak out against Holocaust deniers and others espousing such attitudes.

"We should all be condemning this, and we should be very clear - very clear - and say it in really absolute clear terms," she said.