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‘Lot of fawning back and forth’…

Nick Fuentes (center) with Alex Jones at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Georgia on Nov. 19, 2020. Photo: Zach Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesFormer President Trump dined and conversed with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday night, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Why it matters: Trump’s direct engagement with a man labeled a “white supremacist” by the Justice Department, one week after declaring his 2024 candidacy, is likely to draw renewed outrage over the former president’s embrace of extremists.Fuentes, who frequently promotes racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, had been spotted with Ye at Mar-a-Lago, but reports erroneously suggested he did not have dinner with the former president.What they’re saying: “Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. 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,” Trump said in a statement.A Trump spokesman did not provide comment on additional reporting about the dinner. Fuentes did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the dinner conversation told Axios that Trump “seemed very taken” with Fuentes, impressed that the 24-year-old was able to rattle off statistics and recall speeches dating back to his 2016 campaign.Paraphrasing the conversation, the source said Fuentes told the president he preferred him to be “authentic,” and that Trump seemed scripted and unlike himself during his recent 2024 campaign announcement speech.Trump responded, “You like it better when I just speak off the cuff,” the source said. Fuentes replied that he did, calling Trump an “amazing” president when he was unrestrained. “There was a lot of fawning back and forth,” the source added.Fuentes told Trump that he represented a side of Trump’s base that was disappointed with his newly cautious approach, especially with what some far-right activists view as a lack of support for those charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.Trump didn’t disagree with Fuentes, but said he has advisers who want him to read off teleprompters and be more “presidential.” Notably, Trump referred to himself as a politician, which he has been loathe to do in the past. Fuentes also told Trump that he would crush potential 2024 Republican rivals in a primary, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump asked for Fuentes’ opinion on other candidates as well.Trump at one point turned to Ye and said, “I really like this guy. He gets me,” according to the source. “To be honest, I don’t believe the president knew who the hell [Fuentes] was,” the source added.Trump asked if Fuentes was on social media such as Truth Social, the former president’s alternative to Twitter.Fuentes told Trump that he was on Truth Social but had been banned from the social media platform Gettr because Trump adviser Jason Miller, the CEO of the company, wasn’t a fan of his.Trump asked whether it was because Fuentes was on the “fringe” of his supporter base, the source said. Fuentes acknowledged that he was, saying he’s “one of those people who got banned from everything.“Driving the news: Ye, whose Twitter account was recently restored after being restricted for anti-Semitic comments, posted a video on Thursday night titled “Mar-a-Lago debrief.“Ye claims in …

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