WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney compared former President Donald Trump Monday to a “gargoyle” that could scare voters away from the Republican Party — as former Vice President Mike Pence demanded that Trump say sorry for dining with Jew-bashing guests last week.
Trump, 76, has faced an uproar since hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes and disgraced hip-hop star Kanye West at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump claimed Friday that he “knew nothing about” Fuentes and blamed West, who was welcomed at the Florida resort despite his own bizarre anti-Jewish remarks.
“There is no bottom to the degree to which he’s willing to degrade himself, and the country for that matter,” Romney (R-Utah), the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told NBC reporter Sahil Kapur. “Having dinner with those people was disgusting,”
“I voted to remove him from office twice,” Romney added. “I don’t think he should be president of the United States. I don’t think he should be the nominee of our party in 2024. And I certainly don’t want him hanging over our party like a gargoyle.”
Pence, 63, said in a NewsNation interview that “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-semite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table — and I think he should apologize.”
Despite the criticism, Pence went on to say, according to The Hill: “I don’t believe Donald Trump is an anti-semite. I don’t believe he’s a racist or a bigot. I would not have been his vice president if he was.”
“But I think the president demonstrated profoundly poor judgment in giving those individuals a seat at the table, and as I said, I think he should apologize for it,” the ex-veep reiterated. “He should denounce them without qualification.”
Fuentes, 24, attended racist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and said the same year that he “absolutely” was harmed by Jews in his daily life.
In 2019, Fuentes sparked outrage by publicly doubting that six million Jews died in the Holocaust, saying “the math doesn’t seem to add up.” He later claimed he was only trying to be humorous.
Fuentes said earlier this year that “Jews stood in the way” of the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which ultimately occurred in June.
West, 45, who purports to be a 2024 presidential candidate, lost lucrative business relationships and his status as a billionaire this year as a result of a series of puzzling anti-Jewish remarks.
West recently knocked “Jewish business people” and wrote on Twitter he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”
After dining at Mar-a-Lago, West said he offered Trump the chance to be his running mate. Trump, who launched his third presidential campaign Nov. 25, refused and shouted that the rapper was destined to lose, the “Gold Digger” singer claimed.
“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump claimed Friday. “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
The ex-president sought to distance himself from Fuentes after West claimed in a video posted Thursday that “Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, who became one of Trump’s top presidential advisers. The ex-president’s three grandchildren by the couple are Jewish.
As president, Trump recognized the disputed Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. Kushner-led efforts in the Middle East led to five Muslim countries establishing diplomatic relationships with Israel.