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Last Tuesday, President Trump had lunch with hip-hop mogul Kanye West. That might have produced headlines on its own, but it wasn’t enough. West brought along with him alleged white supremacist and anti-Semite Nick Fuentes and now-I’m-gay-now-I’m-not provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Former Trump campaign staffer Karen Giorno provided the transportation.
We’d sort of thought we’d get the lowdown on how the meeting came to be and what transpired there last night on Tim Pool’s YouTube channel Timcast. Pool alerted everyone that West, Fuentes, and Yiannopoulos would be on his show in this tweet.
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) November 28, 2022
The three of them appearing on Pool’s show hinted that there was more to the story than met the eye. Unfortunately, for all of us political voyeurs, the program went pear-shaped once Pool didn’t go along with West’s Jew phobia. You can read more about that in Bonchie’s post titled WATCH: Kanye Freaks Out and Storms Off ‘Timcast’ After Being Pressed on His Recent Behavior.
Fortunately, NBC News has its tick-tock account of the fiasco.
According to NBC, Trump and West had agreed to have lunch at Mar-a-Lago. West was to arrive and wait at a table in the dining room for Trump to descend and join him. Unbeknownst to Trump, there were a lot of gears turning behind the scenes. Yiannopoulos appears to be the primary source for the story, so he is the star and producer of his account with all the baggage that entails.
Somehow, Yiannaopoulos attached himself to West as some sort of political advisor. According to the account, he asked Karen Giorno to drive West to Mar-a-Lago. Giorno is on the periphery of the nascent West presidential run, and she had flown to LA to meet West and Yiannopoulos.
What she doesn’t know is that instead of driving West, she will be driving Yiannopoulos, a father of a student at West’s Donda Academy, and a surprise guest, Nick Fuentes.
Yiannopoulos said Fuentes is serving in an advisory capacity to Ye. Giorno is not an official member of the unofficial Ye campaign team but flew to Los Angeles to meet with them this week.
“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 added.
The trip to Mar-a-Lago deserves its own chapter.
Giorno said she had been caught in the blast radius of the dinner with Ye and Fuentes but was an unwitting participant. On the night she drove the crew to Mar-a-Lago, she said, she didn’t realize there was going to be a confrontation and she didn’t have time to call or text anyone with a heads-up because Ye’s flight landed about 5 p.m., in the middle of the South Florida metropolis’s rush hour on a rainy day. It took the party three hours to get to Mar-a-Lago, double what it normally takes.
About halfway to Mar-a-Lago, Giorno said in an interview, she realized that Ye, Fuentes and the other man weren’t properly attired.
“All of you are wearing jeans. Did they not tell you about the dress code?” she said she asked.
Ye said he hadn’t been informed and that “I doubt Nick is going to get in anyway.”
“Nick,” she said she asked, “what’s your last name?”
Fuentes gave his last name.
“I’m going to kill Milo,” Giorno said she thought.
Giorno kept driving and said they would probably have trouble getting into Mar-a-Lago because of private security and Secret Service. Giorno said she also realized she had forgotten her driver’s license so she had to use a credit card with her name on it to prove her identity to get in.
Because she had Ye in her car and she is a frequent visitor to the property, having attended Trump’s campaign announcement seven days before, Giorno said, the four of them were able to get in.
No explanation is given as to why Giorno didn’t think bringing Nick Fuentes to a, by now, very late lunch with Trump wasn’t newsworthy to Trump’s staff.
The headline-grabbing attention on his guests — and therefore the subsequent fallout — were all but ensured by Trump before the dinner when he made a grand entrance at about 8 p.m. on Nov. 22 to meet his guests.
“We saw everybody in the dining room get up and start applauding, and then the president entered,” Fuentes told NBC News. “He greeted us, and he invited Ye into dinner and Ye said that he wanted to bring us with him to the table. 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.”
Trump made sure they sat at his specially reserved table on the patio, for all to see, according to Fuentes.
It looks like Giorno realized what kind of a sh**storm was brewing and tried to get out of eating with them. West, ever the gentleman, would have none of it.
Trump met the party in the foyer and warmly greeted everyone but he was puzzled that his old adviser was somehow with Ye, Giorno said. Giorno said she tried to leave Trump with Ye privately.
“Sir, it’s really good to see you again,” she said she told Trump. “My understanding is you’re supposed to have a private meeting with Ye and I’m happy to go to the bar with these two guys while you have dinner.”
But Trump deferred.
“I’ll leave that to Ye. Do you want them to join?” Trump asked, according to Giorno.
“Yes,” Ye replied. “Let’s all eat.”
“Great,” Trump said. “Let’s go out to the patio.”
According to Yiannopoulos, he engineered the event to embarrass Trump.
Ye criticized Trump for not doing enough to help pay the legal bills of those arrested in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots; and he also told Trump he might run for president against him and said Trump should instead be his running mate — all of which angered the former president, who attacked Ye’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, according to two dinner participants and Ye, who blasted out a “Mar-a-Lago debrief” video to his 32.2 million Twitter followers the next day.
“Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes,” Ye said in the video.
Fuentes said that he praised Trump as “my hero” and criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his potential GOP primary challenge to Trump, but he also told him to his face at the dinner that the one-time 2016 insurgent was in danger of becoming a scripted establishment bore who could lose in 2024.
Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor who was banned from Twitter in 2016 for inciting a racist campaign against the comedian Leslie Jones, told NBC News that he was “the architect” of the plan to have Fuentes travel with Ye in the hopes of slipping him into the dinner with Trump. The intent, according to Yiannopoulos, was for Fuentes to give Trump an unvarnished view of how a portion of his base views his candidacy.
And, Yiannopoulos said, he arranged the dinner “just to make Trump’s life miserable” because news of the dinner would leak and Trump would mishandle it.
In the words of an unnamed Trump aide who took the opportunity of talking to NBC to bash his meal ticket:
“The master troll got trolled,” the adviser said. “Kanye punked Trump.”
“Trump was totally blindsided,” the source said of Fuentes’ presence. “It was a setup.”
This guy may have been in tears as he was talking to NBC, but it sounds a lot like he was laughing out loud. Imagine that, working to push the candidacy of a man and giggling at him getting publicly humiliated. Trump partially understood what had happened, “He tried to f— me. He’s crazy. He can’t beat me.” Trump got one thing wrong here. West didn’t try to f*** him, West bent him over, and then he and his whole posse had their way with him.
The sourcing on that last tidbit is “one confidant, who then relayed the conversation to NBC News on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.”
Now that the horse was really out of the barn, the staff started covering their asses by blaming Trump.
Some in Trump’s orbit had cautioned him not to have dinner with Ye, under fire for antisemitism, in the first place, according to two sources who had been briefed on an internal damage assessment the campaign performed after the controversy erupted.
But Trump is known for refusing to heed cautious counsel, guardrails and gatekeepers. So he went ahead with the dinner alone, telling confidants that he thought Ye needed his counsel and, one confidant told NBC that Trump acknowledged he wanted the rapper to be seen because “it would be fun for the members” of Mar-a-Lago.
Beyond the sucking chest wound, this may have administered to Trump’s 2024 plans — I say “may” because Trump has survived crap that would have sent lesser mortals to live as desert hermits — what have we learned from this episode?
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago operation is at least as chaotic and haphazard as the Oval Office during his presidency. His staff at Mar-a-Lago is just as happy to leak and badmouth their patron as anything we saw from 2017 to 2020. Duty seems to be measured in telling the boss what he wants to hear and letting the boss do what he wants to do. It looks like everyone knows about the damage to Trump’s reputation, but no one cares because Trump made the decision.
As I wrote yesterday, this kind of indiscipline is a luxury we can’t afford; see Trump Owes Us More Than an Explanation on the Kanye-Fuentes Fiasco; He Needs to Show It Won’t Happen Again. There is no evidence that Trump learned diddly squat about surrounding himself with grifters while he was president. To the contrary, it looks as though the time spent on introspection could be measured in nanoseconds.
I don’t know if Trump is going to run again. I hope he doesn’t. I’d rather see him barnstorming across Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin firing up crowds and spreading the gospel of economic nationalism. If he gets the nomination, he has my vote, but that is the only vote he’s getting unless there is evidence of a massive change in the way he operates.