Trump dinner with antisemites was ‘breaking point,’ Jewish former allies say

Donald Trump hosted Kanye West and white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes for dinner at his home.

 Then US-president elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 13, 2016.  (photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)
Then US-president elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 13, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)

Prominent Jewish leaders who once backed former president Donald Trump said that his connection with antisemites was a breaking point for them after he hosted white nationalist Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West at his Mar-a-Lago resort in November.

Former Democratic New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind backed Trump for president in 2016 and 2020. But after his recent dinner with two infamous promoters of antisemitic rhetoric, Hikind, a prominent Jewish leader in Brooklyn, said there is no chance he will endorse Trump ever again.

“Trump has disqualified himself, plain and simple; it's over for him,” the representative of Brooklyn district 48 for 35 years until 2018 told The Jerusalem Post.

“This incident goes beyond the pale,” Hikind said. “It never should have happened in the first place, but after it did happen, Donald Trump should have apologized. He should have said something. He said he didn't know who [Fuentes] was. He said he didn't know a Holocaust denier was sitting at the same table with him enjoying dinner.

"Nobody Googled who was having dinner with the former president?" he asked. "I don't know if I believe that, but let's say it's true. [But] by the next day, he knew, [so] how come he didn't say anything? And [Trump] said he likes Kanye regardless of what he says because ‘he says nice things about me.’ It's pathetic.”

The dinner meeting places Trump, who last month announced a 2024 White House bid, in direct contact with two prominent figures who have unapologetically promoted antisemitism in recent months.

Assemblyman Hikind pushes back against Sarsour’s supporters (credit: COURTESY OF DOV HIKIND'S OFFICE)Assemblyman Hikind pushes back against Sarsour’s supporters (credit: COURTESY OF DOV HIKIND'S OFFICE)

West’s Twitter account was recently restored after being blocked over a series of antisemitic comments, including a threat to go “death con 3” on the Jews, that cost him a slew of lucrative sponsorship deals.

“Antisemitism is spreading like wildfire. Jews are getting beat up because of Kanye's words.”

Former New York assemblyman Dov Hikind

Fuentes, who has been labeled a “white supremacist” by the Justice Department and first gained prominence after participating in the 2017 white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, said in June that “Jews stood in the way” of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Trump's meeting spurs pushback from Republicans

Trump's dinner has sparked ire from Trump's supporters, many of whom echo Hikind's outrage.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, is highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, a Jewish pro-Trump Republican who now represents Hikind's district, told the Post that the former chief executive's recent actions put the GOP's integrity to the test. She called on Republican leaders to condemn Trump. 

 INNA VERNIKOV (credit: Inna Vernikov) INNA VERNIKOV (credit: Inna Vernikov)

“While he was President, Trump did more for the Jewish people and the State of Israel than any president in modern history,” Vernikov said.

“But when he spends time with individuals who openly support Hitler, our party’s integrity, morals and leadership are put to the test. Who will do what’s politically expedient and stay silent, and who will do what is right despite political backlash? Republican leadership must do what is right: condemn his actions and publicly call on him to apologize and disassociate himself.”

“When he spends time with individuals who openly support Hitler, our party’s integrity, morals and leadership are put to the test.”

Inna Vernikov, Republican member of the New York City Council for the 48th District

Other top Republicans are staying silent. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who some in the GOP are promoting to be party chairman after his defeat in last month's election for governor of New York, called West a “deranged antisemite” this past week – but the Jewish congressman from Long Island has not released a statement condemning Trump. 

Hikind, who is known for outspoken Israel advocacy and hard-line support for the large population of Orthodox and hasidic Jews in his state assembly district, called the US-Israel relationship “the best ever during Trump's four years.”

“I recognize that no president has ever even come close,” he told the Post. “But that is not a pass for having people like Kanye West at your table.”

“Antisemitism is spreading like wildfire. Jews are getting beat up because of Kanye's words,” he continued. “This is a very sad chapter in this country and we are at an important junction. Donald Trump telling me that he is such a great friend of the Jewish people: I'm tired of it. He did do great things but does that give him a pass to hang out with antisemites and Holocaust deniers? No, it is not okay. With Donald Trump you lose; he's the greatest gift to the Democratic Party.”

“There's no question this is a breaking point within the Republican Party,” Hikind continued. “You can't let anyone get away with this kind of behavior.”