Donald Trump and Kanye West are both unhinged right wing loons who are – each for different reasons – trying to pretend they’re running for President in 2024. Last night they inexplicably had dinner together at Mar-a-Lago, in a meeting of the mindless. Suffice it to say that it went poorly for them both.
The first sign of trouble came when Kanye began posting last night that Trump was “screaming” at him during the dinner. People don’t schedule dinner with each other with the intention of spending the evening screaming at each other. So this meant there had to be more to the story, and sure enough, there was.
It turns out Kanye brought infamous white supremacist Nick Fuentes with him to the dinner. Fuentes is so toxic, even some right wing circles have disavowed him. After word leaked out that Fuentes was at the dinner with Trump, Trump put out a statement insisting that Kanye “arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
So not only is Trump disavowing Fuentes, he’s throwing Kanye under the bus in the process. But this only serves to make Trump look terrible. If Trump knows who Fuentes is, then Trump comes out of this exposed as a liar and a white supremacist sympathizer. If Trump doesn’t know who Fuentes is, then Trump comes out of this looking like a clueless idiot.
Either way, Donald Trump gains nothing from this. Dining with someone as toxic as Fuentes doesn’t suddenly gain him some major voting bloc. Instead it just hands a talking point to those who want to turn more reasonable voters against Trump. At a time when polling suggests that only about half of Republican primary voters want Trump to be their 2024 presidential nominee, and only about one-third of all Americans have any interest in Trump’s 2024 campaign, the last thing Trump can afford to do is alienate even more people in the middle.
Then again, it’s crucial to keep in mind that Donald Trump isn’t really “running” for anything. Aside from filing paperwork and making an announcement to the media, there is no evidence that Trump is actually going to be a 2024 presidential candidate. He hasn’t bothered to hire a campaign manager. Half his family skipped the launch event. There are no followup events. There simply is no Trump campaign, and it’s rather obvious that Trump only filed papers so he can stick his hand out and portray himself as a victim when the DOJ Special Counsel indicts him.
So in that sense, perhaps it doesn’t matter how badly Donald Trump screws up his 2024 prospects, since they don’t exist to begin with. This is a man who knows he’s heading to federal prison, and is using this “campaign” as one last grift before he’s hauled away. But Trump’s grift does require the mainstream media to keep portraying his phony campaign as if it were a real one. Thus far the media has been perfectly happy to do so. But dining with white supremacists makes it harder for the media to want to hang in there with the ruse that Trump is actually running for something. If the media ends up washing its hands of this and admitting that Trump is just screwing around ahead of his indictment, it’ll make it a lot harder for Trump to sell his 2024 “campaign” to anyone – even his own base.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report