In his first response to a torrent of antisemitic remarks spewed by controversial rapper Kanye West, President Joe Biden called out political leaders for giving antisemitism a platform, arguing in a tweet on Friday that they should be “rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides.”
In a tweet posted on his presidential Twitter account, Biden said, “I just want to make a few things clear: The Holocaust happened” and “Hitler was a demonic figure.”
Biden did not call out West by name, though his tweet comes just hours after Twitter CEO Elon Musk suspended West’s account for violating the social media platform’s incitement to violence policy, after the rapper posted an antisemitic image of a swastika surrounded by the Star of David.
West, who legally changed his name to Ye, also praised Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party, saying in an interview with controversial far-right commentator Alex Jones, “I like Hitler,” before clarifying, “I love Jewish people but I also love Nazis.”
Ye, who has been heavily criticized for antisemitic and racist comments, stirred up drama again last weekend when he invited Gen Z political commentator Nick Fuentes, an outspoken white supremacist who has been heavily criticized as a Holocaust denier, to a dinner with former President Donald Trump at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate.
In addition to Biden’s and Musk’s reactions on Twitter, the account for the Republican House Judiciary Committee members finally deleted a months-old tweet that read “Kanye. Elon. Trump.”—a message many on the platform had criticized amid West’s earlier behavior.
Multiple Republican leaders have condemned Trump’s meeting with Ye and Fuentes, including his former Vice President Mike Pence, who said in an interview with News Nation Now that “Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also slammed Fuentes, calling him a white supremacist pundit and saying he doesn’t think “anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who argued Trump might have ruined his 2024 presidential aspirations by meeting with Ye and Fuentes, told reporters, “there is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy.” In response to the backlash, Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social that he did not know Fuentes would be coming, saying West “unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about.” Trump also downplayed the event as “quick and uneventful.”
Ye has been called out from Democrats and Republicans, and had multiple lucrative deals terminated after a series of racist and antisemitic tirades, primarily on social media. In October, he wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt to a fashion show, choosing a term associated with a Neo-Nazi group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He had his Instagram account restricted after he posted an image of a text conversation with rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs filled with antisemitic tropes, and later had his Twitter account restricted after he tweeted he would go “death con 3 on Jewish people.”