The Trump dinner debacle at Mar-a-Lago may have been an epically public troll, according to a report by NBC News.
Former president Donald Trump had planned for a private dinner with Kanye West, who previously paid a visit to the Oval Office during Trump’s presidency in 2018. The dinner, two days before Thanksgiving, followed the announcement of Trump’s run for the White House and weeks of controversy for the rapper, who was dropped from Adidas, P Morgan Chase, and Balenciaga after a slew of antisemitic remarks.
In a Truth Social post, Trump said that he met with West in order to “help” him as he’s “been decimated in his business and virtually everything else,” and that West “has always been good to me.” Of course, Trump did not acknowledge West’s recent rash of antisemitism.
Yet the dinner soon turned into a public circus with the unexpected arrival of white supremacist and Holocaust-denier, Nick Fuentes, who tagged along with West and his other dinner guest, alt-right commentator, Milo Yiannopoulos.
A longtime Trump adviser told NBC News that it was clear Fuentes’ presence was part of a headline-grabbing coup to leverage Trump’s natural inclination for pomp and spectacle.
“The master troll got trolled,” the adviser stated. “Kanye punked Trump.”
Before anyone took a seat at the table, the plan was already set. Trump made his grand entrance at 8 p.m. on Nov. 22. After garnering a standing ovation and applause from everyone in the dining room, according to Fuentes, the former president sat down with West, Fuentes, and Yiannopoulos at a reserved patio table.
“He greeted us, and he invited Ye into dinner and Ye said that he wanted to bring us with him to the table,” Fuentes told NBC News. “So we walked in and Ye took some pictures with some of the guests in the dining room and then we sat down at the table.”
Although Trump has since denied knowing Fuentes or his background prior to the dinner, a claim that Fuentes confirmed, the aftermath of the meeting has drawn harsh criticism from within Trump’s own Republican party and allies including two elected Republicans, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Rep. James Comer of Kentucky.
An unnamed Trump advisor called the situation “a fucking nightmare”. “If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here’s another reason why,” they told NBC News.
As Trump’s team has scrambled to squash the media backlash from both Republicans and Democrats, Yiannopoulos seems to be taking credit for the Trump trap.
Yiannopoulos – who has been accused of advocating pedophilia, resulting in his resignation at Breitbart – claimed to be “the architect” of the plan to slip Fuentes into West’s dinner with Trump. He said that the goal was for Fuentes to provide Trump with a raw view of how some of his support base views his run for president, NBC News reports.
According to NBC News, Yiannopoulos convinced former Trump 2016 campaign adviser, Karen Giorno, to drive West to Mar-a-Lago. He claimed that he wanted Giorno to get West up to speed on Trump and politics.
West was also accompanied by a parent of a student at Donda Academy, which has since shut down for the year following West’s antisemitic comments.
Giorno stated that Yiannopoulos only said West would be bringing two people including someone named, “Nick.” Yiannopoulos confirmed he gave Giorno limited information and also said that she was not aware of the plan to confront Trump.
On the way to Mar-a-Lago, Giorno said in an interview with NBC News, that she realized Ye and his guests were not properly dressed for their dinner with Trump.
“All of you are wearing jeans. Did they not tell you about the dress code?” she said she asked.
Ye said he wasn’t aware of the expected attire and that “I doubt Nick is going to get in anyway.”
“Nick,” she said she asked, “what’s your last name?”
After Fuentes told her his last name, Giorno said she thought, “I’m going to kill Milo.”
Yiannopoulos, who West allegedly tapped to join his campaign team, stated that Fuentes is serving in an advisory capacity to the rapper.
“I wanted to show Trump the kind of talent that he’s missing out on by allowing his terrible handlers to dictate who he can and can’t hang out with,” Yiannopoulos told NBC News.
“I also wanted to send a message to Trump that he has systematically repeatedly neglected, ignored, abused the people who love him the most, the people who put him in office, and that kind of behavior comes back to bite you in the end,” he continued.
Yiannopoulos added, he planned the evening “just to make Trump’s life miserable” as word of the dinner spread beyond Mar-a-Lago’s gilded walls.
Fuentes backed Yiannopoulos: “I hate to say it, but the chickens are coming home to roost. You know, this is the frustration with his base and with his true loyalists.”
Trump was furious that West and his dinner guest had ambushed him, reports confirm. The dinner reportedly got heated after West, who is planning his own presidential run in 2024, suggested to Trump that the former president be his running mate. In a video posted after the Mar-a-Lago dinner, West said that “Trump started basically screaming at me at the table, telling me I was gonna lose. I mean, has that ever worked for anyone in history? I’m like, hold on hold on, you’re talking about Ye.”
“I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win,” Trump posted Saturday on Truth Social. Although Trump has repeatedly denied knowing Fuentes – who has been labeled a “white supremacist” by the Anti-Defamation League – before the dinner, he has yet to denounce Fuentes’ history of hate speech.
Critics of the former president say that he is reluctant to distance himself from racists as they make up a chunk of his political base, according to reports.
On Monday, West was again joined by Fuentes and Yiannopoulos during a podcast with Tim Pool. West briefly discussed the dinner, confirming “Trump had no idea who Nick Fuentes was.” However, the live interview was cut short after the trio stormed out of the studio after pushback to antisemitic claims.
Trump’s campaign is currently working on new vetting procedures to ensure someone like Fuentes and the former president never break bread at the same table again, two sources briefed on the plans told NBC News.
“He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years,” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “Fake News went CRAZY!”