Don Lemon grilled former President Trump’s deputy secretary of State on Monday about Trump’s recent dinner with antisemite Nick Fuentes.
Speaking on CNN This Morning, Lemon asked Len Khodorkovsky, a Jewish man who said he is a grandson of Holocaust survivors, if it was wrong for Trump to meet with the known white supremacist.
“From what I understand, President Trump said he didn’t know Nick Fuentes was coming, and Nick Fuentes himself, from what I understand, said President Trump had no idea who he was at the dinner,” Khodorkovsky said.
“So I — look, let’s just call Nick Fuentes for who he is: he’s an antisemite, he’s repulsive, his views are disgusting, and no one of any substance should give him any forum, it’s frankly beneath President Trump to meet with him.”
The New York Times and Axios both reported last week that Trump dined on Tuesday night with Fuentes and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Trump this week blamed Ye, whom he called a “seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black,” for bringing Fuentes to Mar-a-Lago. He denied knowing who Fuentes was.
Khodorkovsky said instead of focusing on who Trump was meeting with, attention should be brought to “the halls of Congress” and Democratic representatives like Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) for antisemitism.
“They’re not president of the United States,” Lemon responded.
“Don’t you think the former president, considering what is happening, the investigation at Mar-a-Lago, the documents, the types of people who might have access to classified documents, beyond the antisemitism, you don’t think the former president should know who he’s meeting with and letting into his home?” Lemon asked.
Khodorkovsky said “of course” Trump should know who he is meeting with.
“It sounds like you’re making excuses for him,” Lemon interrupted. “You say he should know who he’s meeting and then you said he didn’t know. It sounds like you’re making excuses. There’s no excuses for bad behavior, antisemitism and being the former president and not knowing who you’re allowing into a place where you’ve kept classified documents.”
Khodorkovsky said he condemns Ye’s antisemitism and the “mainstreaming of antisemitism,” but he stopped short of saying he condemns Trump for meeting with antisemites.
“I know the president is not an antisemite,” said Khodorkovsky. “He does not need to apologize to me or anyone else.”
Fuentes openly espouses his desire to preserve white, European American identity and culture, and has denied the Holocaust. Last month, Ye received backlash after he made antisemitic comments, and several companies cut ties with the rapper for the comments.
Khodorkovsky said he does wish Trump hadn’t met with Ye and Fuentes, but told Lemon the conversation should be about the rising antisemitism around the country.
“Let’s focus on the real issue of concern for both of us, which as there’s a rise in antisemitism in the United States and the world and we should not give a platform to any Holocaust deniers or antisemites wherever they are,” said Khodorkovsky. “I don’t think that the president should have met with Kanye or his sidekick and I wish no one else will either.”