‘One of the oldest hatreds’: Netanyahu sees new source of antisemitism

Antisemitism is “the oldest hatred,” but the internet is making it worse, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

“It’s the oldest hatred, as I say, one of the oldest hatreds of humanity. It was wrong then, it’s wrong now,” Netanyahu told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But it’s got an extra life probably in the United States and in other countries by the age of the internet.”

The prime minister-designate was responding to a question about recent behavior by former President Donald Trump, who dined with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye late last month.

Both Fuentes and Ye, better known as Kanye West, have made a litany of antisemitic statements. Other figures, including basketball star Kyrie Irving, have also recently promoted antisemitism.

“There are many, many blessings of the internet age, but it comes also with a curse. And the curse is polarization,” Netanyahu said. “In the case of antisemitism, it’s the melding, the fusion of the antisemitism from the extreme radical left with the extreme radical right.”

Netanyahu, who leads a politically conservative coalition that is set to return to power, called Trump’s dinner “unacceptable,” even as he expressed support for Trump’s policy decisions as president. Leaders are constantly “balancing interests with values,” he said.

“I hope he sees his way to staying out of it and condemning it,” Netanyahu said of Trump.

Asked whether he’d support Trump as president, Netanyahu said he’d “deal with anyone who’s elected president.” The prime minister-designate, who is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, has a distinct connection to American political culture, having attended high school in Cheltenham, Pa., and college at MIT.

No support for Trump’s ‘termination’ of Constitution, but Republicans decline to condemn him

Former President Donald Trump found no support Sunday for his suggestion Saturday to consider “termination” of the Constitution, but his fellow Republicans declined to say they wouldn’t vote for him in 2024.

“It is certainly not consistent with the oath that we all take,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio). “I vehemently disagree with the statement that Trump has made.”

But Turner, speaking to host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” declined to say Trump’s remarks were “disqualifying” when it came to his presidential candidacy.

“There is a political process that has to go forward,” Turner said.

On his own social media platform Saturday morning, Trump said falsely that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election and argued that unprecedented measures were, therefore, called for to return him to office. “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump posted.

The Biden administration on Saturday condemned Trump’s statement, calling it “anathema to the soul of our nation.”

Pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on whether he could support someone who had suggested suspending the Constitution, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) said on ABC’s “This Week” that he would “support whoever the Republican nominee is.”

“He says a lot of things,” Joyce said of Trump, adding that Trump does not have the power to suspend the Constitution. “You have to take it in context … I can’t be really chasing every one of these crazy statements that come out about — from any of these candidates.”

Both Joyce and Rep.-elect Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said they didn’t think voters wanted to look “backward,” following Republicans’ unexpectedly narrow House majority victory last month.

“I certainly don’t endorse that language,” Lawler said of Trump’s constitutional “termination” on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He urged Trump to look toward the future as Trump seeks the presidency again.

Democrats condemned Trump’s remarks and also suggested they reflected a larger problem within the GOP.

“It was a strange statement, but the Republicans are going to have to work out their issues with the former president,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the recently elected House Democratic leader, said Sunday on “This Week.”

Jeffries said he didn’t take Trump’s statement as unexpected.

“Suspending the Constitution is an extraordinary step, but we’re used to extraordinary statements being made by the former president.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said Trump “has become like the crazy uncle down at Mar-a-Lago, saying things which make no sense in America democracy.”

Speaking on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show,” Cicilline said Trump’s remarks are just the latest in a long line of troubling remarks undermining democracy.

“It’s just the most recent, but very explicit, attack by the former president,” he said.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who’s seeking to become the next speaker of the House, was not asked about Trump’s remarks in an appearance on “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo” but was sympathetic to the underlying assertions at the heart of Trump’s attack: his accusation that Big Tech worked to censor reports of misdeeds by Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election.

“Think about the timeline of when this was right before the election, just a couple weeks. And remember how close this election was,” he said.

Trump also continued to take some criticism Sunday on his dinner late last month with antisemitic white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, better known as Kanye West. “This is atrocious,” Turner said, adding that he was astounded that in 2022, antisemitism still even had to be condemned.

“We need to make it clear we reject antisemitism left, right and center,” former Vice President Mike Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.” Pence said the question of whether the dinner was “disqualifying” is “for the American people” to decide.

GOP lawmakers have mostly declined to condemn Trump for the meeting, even if they’ve taken issue with the dinner itself. Ye has since made additional antisemitic comments, drawing additional fire from some Republicans.

Pence previously said Trump should apologize for meeting with Fuentes.

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, an ally of Trump during his presidency, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he doesn’t think Trump’s refusal to condemn antisemitic behavior will become “systemic.”

“I think he probably understands that it crosses a line,” Netanyahu said.

What happened when Biden and the Royals came to Boston

BOSTON — Help Raphael Warnock from afar: Check. Earn some union credibility: Also check.

President Joe Biden returned to Boston on Friday for a whirlwind afternoon that began with a Prince William meeting and ended with a fundraiser for the vulnerable Democratic senator ahead of Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election.

But it was the union-sponsored phone bank that underscored the dual purposes of Biden’s hastily thrown-together trip — finding a safe way to help Warnock and showing off his union support hours after he signed a controversial bill averting a freight rail workers’ strike.

A grinning Biden was met with a standing ovation and a “we love you, Joe” at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103 in Dorchester as photographers clicked away. A few union members wore “IBEW FOR JOE” t-shirts. A plastic bag full of buttons with Biden’s name on them sat on a table by the door.

“What you’re doing really makes a gigantic difference,” Biden told the room. “We need that 51st vote.”

The IBEW provided friendly territory for Biden. It’s a few blocks from Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s home in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The union hosted Vice President Kamala Harris for an abortion-access roundtable in August. Lou Antonellis, the Local 103 business manager, told reporters that “the president has already established himself as the most pro-labor, pro-worker president in the history of the United States.” He declined to answer questions about the president’s handling of the rail strike.

While Biden basked in the glow of the IBEW’s goodwill, the phone bank for Warnock was relatively brief. Members began making calls only about 45 minutes before the president entered the room. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who joined in alongside fellow Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, could be heard talking to someone who said they were in New York. Press were ushered out of the function room after the president took a few selfies and made a few calls. A few minutes after he left, many of the dialers picked up boxes of leftover pizza and headed for the door.

And just miles away, where Biden met the prince, a couple hundred activists, including railroad workers and members of the Democratic Socialists of America, were protesting the president for forcing the contract deal that averted the rail strike but left workers without the ability to fight for paid sick leave.

Biden likely made up for it at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser — the original reason for his return to Massachusetts less than a week after he left Nantucket — with Warren and Markey at a private residence in Boston’s pricey Beacon Hill neighborhood where he reiterated the need for Democrats to gain the upper hand in the Senate that’s currently split 50-50.

Biden has no plans to visit Georgia ahead of Tuesday. Instead, by campaigning for Warnock some 1,000 miles away, the president is continuing his successful midterm strategy of helping from a distance. Biden aides told the Associated Press that Warnock’s campaign requested the Boston trip. And deep-pocketed Massachusetts is as good a place as any to help replenish the coffers Senate Democrats’ campaign arm drained by pouring millions into Warnock’s runoff election against Republican Herschel Walker.

Yet Biden drew the most attention Friday for his meeting with the Prince of Wales at the John F. Kennedy Library for a mostly private meeting in which the two took in the “spectacular” skyline view and shared “warm memories” of the late Queen Elizabeth II, according to pool reports.

The two also share an affinity for the late president. The British royals were concluding a three-day tour of Boston on Friday that culminated in their Earthshot climate innovator prize awards — an initiative named after Kennedy’s famed “moonshot” speech. Biden delivered remarks on his administration’s similarly named cancer moonshot initiative during a visit to the library in September.

True or false: Colorado is a swing state

Michael Bennet is the senior Democratic senator from Colorado, a famously purple state. In the weeks leading up to the 2022 midterms Colorado seemed to be a place where Republicans might actually flip a few seats. But as it turned out, not only was there no red wave in Colorado, there was something of a blue wave instead. On this episode of Playbook Deep Dive, host Ryan Lizza visits Sen. Michael Bennet on the Hill to dissect the 2022 midterms, and pick his brain on 2024 presidential campaigns and what might be in store for the lame duck session.

Parler halts intent of sale to Kanye West, parent company announces

The parent company of Parler, the social media platform popular with conservatives, has agreed to terminate its intent to sell the site to rapper Ye — better known as Kanye West — according to a statement from Parlement Technologies on Thursday.

“Parler will continue to pursue future opportunities for growth and the evolution of the platform for our vibrant community,” the company said.

Though Parler said it cut ties with Ye in mid-November, the statement came hours after he unleashed a flurry of antisemitic comments lauding Nazis and saying he sees “good things” about Adolf Hitler.

“Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye said during an interview with the far-right provocateur Alex Jones.

“I don’t like the word ‘evil’ next to Nazis,” he added later. “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.”

Response from some Republican lawmakers was swift, after many dragged their feet in condemning former President Donald Trump’s decision to dine with Ye and white nationalist Nick Fuentes over the weekend.

Ye’s bid to buy the platform has been marked by stumbles, including accidentally revealing contact information for hundreds of so-called “VIP” members.

The platform has sought to court commentators from the right and position itself as a site for free speech, but it has struggled to maintain a large base of active users.

Rebecca Kern contributed to this report.

GOP lawmakers mostly decline to condemn Trump over white supremacist meeting

A flurry of top Republicans on Monday took a familiar approach to Donald Trump’s dinner with white nationalist and antisemite Nick Fuentes — condemning the former president’s actions, but not the man himself.

Trump’s onetime No. 2 was a notable exception.

“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table,” Pence told NewsNation in an interview set to air later Monday. “And I think he should apologize for it.”

Trump’s vice president joined several GOP members of Congress in blasting Trump’s dinner last week with Fuentes, who has often shared racist and Holocaust-denying content online, and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West who has also made antisemitic comments. The former president’s decision to dine with Fuentes and Ye soon after launching his 2024 presidential campaign has already sparked widespread condemnation from Democrats, but Republican lawmakers have been slower to speak out — and most who did so on Monday stopped short of Pence’s call for an apology from Trump.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who vied against Trump in the 2016 presidential primary, said he hopes to see the former president condemn Fuentes, “because I know [Trump’s] not an antisemite. I can tell you that for a fact that Trump is not, but [Fuentes is] evil … just a nasty disgusting person. He’s an ass clown, and he’s trying to legitimize himself by being around a former, maybe future president.”

Other Republicans frowned upon the meeting itself while stopping short of outright condemnation. The Senate GOP’s No. 2 leader, John Thune of South Dakota, called the dinner a “bad idea on every level” and said whomever on Trump’s staff advised it should be fired.

“It’s ridiculous that he had that meeting,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), another member of GOP leadership. “And that’s all I’m gonna say about it. Just crazy.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) condemned the idea of antisemitism generally when asked about the meeting, but went no further.

“We cannot tolerate antisemitism. Period,” said Daines, who’s set to chair Senate Republicans’ campaign arm for the 2024 election.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said he wasn’t “gonna condemn anybody,” adding that Fuentes is “just not somebody that I would have a meeting with.” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) struck a similar note, saying while he wouldn’t personally dine with Fuentes, “It’s a free country, [Trump] can do whatever he wants.”

Both Rounds and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a close ally of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they didn’t know who Fuentes was.

“I’m really not going to spend any more time worrying about whether or not those two people are meeting with one another,” Rounds said.

Since his pre-Thanksgiving dinner with Fuentes and Ye, Trump also has said he did not know who Fuentes was when the latter — who joined scores of other white nationalists in attending the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned violent — came to dinner at Mar-a-Lago as a guest of Ye.

The dinner “was intended to be Kanye and me only,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform, shying away from direct criticism of Fuentes.

Before Senate Republicans returned to Washington on Monday evening, one of their own had already tweeted with notably sharp criticism: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who voted to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial, sought to put distance between Trump’s actions and the party as a whole.

“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites,” Cassidy tweeted. “These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.”

But across the Capitol, most House Republicans have stayed more silent ahead of their return to Washington on Tuesday.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee in next Congress’ GOP majority, told CNN on Monday that he “obviously” condemned the meeting, which Trump “never should have had.” Comer had been pressed to go farther than his initial comments Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which he said he personally wouldn’t take a meeting with Fuentes.

Retiring Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN on Sunday that Trump was setting a poor example by meeting with a “racist.”

“We need to avoid those kinds of empowering the extremes. When you meet with people, you empower,” Hutchinson said. He added: “Every occasion that the question of white supremacy, or neo-Nazism or denying the Holocaust comes up, you’ve got to be absolutely clear in your communication that this is not acceptable dogma.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

The GOP’s great Trump reckoning begins at the state party level

For years, Lou Barletta counted himself among Donald Trump’s most diehard allies. The former Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate and congressman endorsed him at a time in 2016 when many GOP elected officials saw Trump as radioactive. He served as the co-chair of his first presidential campaign in Pennsylvania.

Six years later, Barletta is finally disembarking from the MAGA train.

“I’m not supporting him,” he said of Trump’s 2024 campaign in an interview with POLITICO. “I was one of his most loyal supporters in Congress. But loyalty was only a one-way street.”

Barletta may have personal reasons for ditching Trump. The former president endorsed his opponent in the GOP primary for governor in May. But his sentiments reflect a broader reckoning happening after Republicans underperformed expectations across the country in November.

Having lost high-stakes, expensive races for the Senate, House and governor, there has been a wave of finger-pointing and second-guessing across the party.

In Pennsylvania, several potential candidates are rumored to be thinking about challenging the current state GOP chair, Lawrence Tabas, whose term is up in 2025. And Republicans there are questioning everything from their disdainful approach to mail voting; to whether the state party should have endorsed candidates in the primary; to, yes, Trump himself.

Even the party’s GOP leader concedes things need to change.

“As a party, we will need to take a critical look at the way we approach endorsements and mail-in ballots going forward and, as always, I’ll look for input from elected party leaders,” Tabas said. “I am not a top-down, backroom-deal leader, and I’m never going to be.”

Not everyone in the party is ready to declare that a course correction is upon it. David Kochel, a top strategist on Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign and a longtime Trump skeptic, said the party features “too many people dug into their position” that Trump is still the only way forward for the GOP.

“You mean some sort of a reckoning that actually resolves things?” Kochel asked. “We’re not talking about rationality here. We’re talking about people’s feelings.”

But underwhelming midterm performances across the board have already ignited a wave of intraparty conflagrations. And as a post-midterm power vacuum in Michigan, New Hampshire and other pivotal states threatens to weaken Trump’s vise grip on state party apparatuses, Republican insiders are jostling for what they believe will be a great resorting.

Some of the first shots fired came via a Michigan GOP memo leaked on Twitter by none other than the state’s defeated gubernatorial candidate, Tudor Dixon. The Nov. 10 memo, authored by state party chief of staff Paul Cordes, blamed “the Trump effect” for the party’s historic losses in the midterms. Two days later, Dixon tweeted that she was weighing her own bid for party chair — possibly challenging the defeated Trump-backed attorney general nominee, Matthew DePerno.

Some Republicans told POLITICO the memo didn’t go far enough in criticizing and identifying the direction of the party, which they said ceded too much power to co-chair Meshawn Maddock to broker Trump endorsements up and down the ballot.

“For the GOP to have any chance in [Michigan] in [2024] the leadership has to be changed in full to someone focused on winning and who is totally dedicated to making sure that the people who are encouraged to win primaries are those who will appeal to the median general election voter,” a Republican operative familiar with the state told POLITICO. “A ton hangs on the decisions that will be made on this in the coming weeks and months.”

Jeff Timmer, the former state party executive director and a senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, put it more bluntly. The memo, he said, “was a ‘fuck you’ to the Meshawn Maddocks and the MAGAS.”

In New Hampshire, it’s a similar tale. GOP Chair Steve Stepanek, one of Trump’s 2016 campaign state co-chairs, is likely to face a leadership challenge after Democrats trampled the party’s congressional candidates and brought themselves within a few recounts of taking the state House.

“There’s an unhappiness, a restlessness among the troops,” state Rep. Norm Silber, the Belknap County Republicans’ chair who lost his reelection bid this fall, said in an interview.

And in the home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, there are signs some Republicans are trying to buy themselves some space before deciding whether to recommit to Trump.

State lawmaker Al Baldasaro was the only one of Trump’s three 2020 New Hampshire co-chairs to attend his Mar-a-Lago campaign launch earlier this month. Fred Doucette, also a state representative, said he was busy with the ongoing recounts but is “waiting patiently to hear from [Trump’s] people” on rebuilding his campaign apparatus in New Hampshire. Lou Gargiulo, the third 2020 co-chair whose state Senate race this fall went to a recount, said that while he’ll “most likely” be with Trump, it’s “premature” to pick sides. “I’d like to see the landscape first,” he said.

But, like Kochel, former New Hampshire GOP Chair Fergus Cullen warned recent Trump skeptics not to underestimate the former president’s staying power.

“I was an original ‘never-Trumper.’ There are a lot more ‘not-again Trumpers,’” Cullen said in an interview. “But the party apparatus is still completely taken over by Trump — your state party chairs, your county committee leaders, your rank-and-file members. … That’s not going to just evaporate overnight.”

In Arizona, for one, it’s unclear that the GOP is eager to move away from Trump even after the party saw Republicans lose Senate and gubernatorial races.

Kelli Ward, a Trump diehard who showed preference to election-denying candidates while rushing to censure both sitting and former GOP elected officials she deemed RINOs, has said she won’t seek another term. Her announcement followed recent calls to resign by establishment-minded Republicans, including Karrin Taylor Robson who was defeated by Kari Lake in the party’s gubernatorial primary.

But there’s no sign the fabric of the Arizona GOP is changing, or that a large-tent Republican will be at the helm anytime soon. Insiders suspect someone in the image of Ward is most likely to succeed her, citing a top-down MAGA-minded party apparatus that was built up around her.

“This is trench warfare,” said Chuck Coughlin, a Republican-turned-unaffiliated voter who remains a political consultant in the state. “There’s nothing that would tell me they’re willing to give up those positions of authority and sing kumbaya, or even have legitimate conversations about what that would look like.”

In deep-blue Massachusetts, where voters have backed fiscally conservative but socially more moderate Republican governors for the better part of 30 years, a similar dynamic is playing out. Republicans deviated from their battle-tested method for electoral success — nominating candidates who can appeal across party lines in a state where the majority of voters are independents — by putting forward Trump-endorsed Geoff Diehl for governor and a slate of mostly hard-right candidates down the ballot.

After Republicans lost every statewide and congressional race and saw their already slim minority in the state legislature shrink even further, Jay Fleitman, the vice chair of the state party, announced his candidacy for chair. Several other state committee members are also considering bids.

But Jim Lyons, the embattled two-term state party chair, has shown no signs of dumping Trump. Lyons, who still hasn’t said whether he’s running for a third two-year term as state party leader, was posting on social media from the ballroom of Mar-a-Lago the night of Trump’s announcement thanking the former president for the invite.

Rising frustration with Trump hasn’t just produced fissures across numerous GOP state parties. It’s created larger uncertainty about the 2024 presidential cycle. Republicans in key battleground states said they now believe there was an opening for DeSantis and other potential Republican challengers.

David Urban, a Pennsylvania native who served as a senior adviser for Trump’s 2016 campaign, said, “I think most people in Pennsylvania are open to somebody else” in 2024.

Urban said that even his longtime friends in Beaver County, who are “Trump until they die,” told him “we like DeSantis a lot,” though they haven’t yet walked away from the former president.

Still, the GOP civil war, if one ever is launched, is unlikely to resolve itself for months ahead of 2024.

On his way out of La Jolla last week, Kochel, the longtime Iowa GOP consultant, tweeted a video of sea lions by the water, heads raised as they barked into the air. “Intraparty squabbles after weak election performance,” Kochel wrote.

“Everybody’s just barking at each other, and nobody’s saying anything,” Kochel said in an interview, elaborating on his sea lions-as-Republicans analogy.

Donald Trump dined with white nationalist, Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes

Former President Donald Trump hosted white nationalist and antisemite Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach on Tuesday night, according to multiple people familiar with the event.

Fuentes, who frequently posts racist content in addition to Holocaust revisionism, was brought as a guest of rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye.

In a post to his social media site, Trump confirmed the gathering.

“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” he wrote. “Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”

However eventful, the dinner reflects a remarkable moment in an extremely early 2024 campaign cycle: the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination breaking bread with a man who frequently posts racist content and Holocaust revisionism, brought there by a rapper who is launching his own presidential campaign under the shadow of his own antisemitic remarks.

“If it was any other party, breaking bread with Nick Fuentes would be instantly disqualifying for Trump,” said Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa. “The most extreme views have found a home in today’s MAGA Republican party.”

In a statement, the White House said, “Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America – including at Mar-A-Lago. Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned.”

It underscores how few guardrails currently exist within the former president’s political operation, with few aides there to screen guests or advise against and manage such gatherings.

Indeed, after POLITICO first reported the sighting of Fuentes at Trump’s club, people in Trump’s orbit denied the former president met with Fuentes at all. Only later was it revealed that he not only met with Fuentes but dined with him.

Karen Giorno, a former Trump strategist who is also now working for West’s 2024 campaign, confirmed to POLITICO that she was also at the dinner with Trump, West and Fuentes.

Fuentes, who was present at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, has made a series of offensive and racist statements on his shows including that Trump was wrong to disavow white supremacy. He has been removed from YouTube and other social media sites. Trump’s dinner with Fuentes comes just one week after the former president announced he is seeking reelection, and soon after West publicly made a series of antisemitic comments that cost him millions in endorsement deals.

In a separate statement, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was, stating that the “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.” Both that statement and the Truth Social post did not include a denunciation of West’s or Fuentes’ recent comments.

West discussed the dinner in a video titled “Mar-a-lago debrief,” which he posted to Twitter. In it, he said that Trump was “impressed by Fuentes” because “unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.”

West went on to say he told Trump, “Why when you had the chance, did you not free the January sixers? And I came to him as someone who loves Trump. And I said, ‘Go and get Corey [Lewandowski] back, go and get these people that the media tried to cancel and told you to step away from.’” The video includes photos of former advisers including Giorno and Roger Stone, and also conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Describing the event to Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right provocateur who he hired to help with his campaign, West said that he also asked Trump to be his running mate in 2024, and said that Trump was “screaming” at him during the dinner, and that the former president called his ex-wife profanities.

“When Trump started basically screaming at me at the table, telling me I was going to lose. I mean, has that ever worked for anyone in history? I’m like, whoa, whoa, hold on, hold on Trump, you’re talking to Ye,” West said.

Chris Cadelago contributed to this report.

Musk says granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts

New Twitter owner Elon Musk said Thursday that he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The billionaire’s announcement came after he asked in a poll posted to his timeline to vote on reinstatements for accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The yes vote was 72%.

“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”

Musk used the same Latin phrase after posting a similar poll last last weekend before reinstating the account of former President Donald Trump, which Twitter had banned for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump has said he won’t return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.

Such online polls are anything but scientific and can easily be influenced by bots.

In the month since Musk took over Twitter, groups that monitor the platform for racist, anti-Semitic and other toxic speech say it’s been on the rise on the world’s de facto public square. That has included a surge in racist abuse of World Cup soccer players that Twitter is allegedly failing to act on.

The uptick in harmful content is in large part due to the disorder following Musk’s decision to lay off half the company’s 7,500-person workforce, fire top executives, and then institute a series of ultimatums that prompted hundreds more to quit. Also let go were an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation. Among those resigning over a lack of faith in Musk’s willingness to keep Twitter from devolving into a chaos of uncontrolled speech were Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth.

Major advertisers have also abandoned the platform.

On Oct. 28, the day after he took control, Musk tweeted that no suspended accounts would be reinstated until Twitter formed a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints that would consider the cases.

On Tuesday, he said he was reneging on that promise because he’d agreed to at the insistence of “a large coalition of political-social activists groups” who later ”broke the deal” by urging that advertisers at least temporarily stop giving Twitter their business.

A day earlier, Twitter reinstated the personal account of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, which was banned in January for violating the platform’s Covid misinformation policies.

Musk, meanwhile, has been getting increasingly chummy on Twitter with right-wing figures. Before this month’s U.S. midterm elections he urged “independent-minded” people to vote Republican.

Black mayors are leading the nation’s biggest cities for the first time

When Karen Bass is sworn in as Los Angeles mayor next month, she’ll be making history in more ways than one.

Not only will she be the first woman to lead LA, Bass will complete a rare tetrafecta of sorts: Black mayors will be running the nation’s four largest cities, with the congresswoman joining Eric Adams of New York, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Sylvester Turner of Houston.

“Anytime we get a new mayor, it’s exciting,” Frank Scott, the Democratic mayor of Little Rock, Ark., said in a phone interview. “But to have another mayor, a Black woman, who’s going to lead one of our nation’s major cities? That’s a big deal.”

This marks the first time these major metropolises will simultaneously be led by African Americans — and it may be for just a brief period. The leadership acumen of big city mayors is being tested now in how they address issues ranging from upticks in crime, to a sagging economy and high inflation, to housing affordability and homelessness.

And this is all taking place as the cities undergo seismic demographic shifts. All four are “majority minority” cities and these Black mayors are governing municipalities where Latinos, not Black residents, make up the largest non-white ethnic group.

Hispanics accounted for more than half of the growth in the U.S. population, according to the 2020 Census. Meanwhile, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other big cities have seen their Black populations shrink in recent years in something of a reversal of what happened in the 1970s. These new migration patterns are altering political dynamics as Latinos consolidate power.

The division is particularly acute for Bass, who faces the immediate challenge of how to deal with a city still reeling from a recording that captured three Latino City Council members and a union official engaging in a racist and politically-motivated discussion about how they could manipulate voting districts to their advantage.

In public, the mayor-in-waiting has sought to project unity.

“Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth,” Bass proclaimed Thursday in her first public remarks since securing the victory over billionaire Rick Caruso, in what was the most expensive mayoral contest in the city’s history. She also leaned into her past life as the founder of a nonprofit in the 1990s centered on bringing the city’s multi-ethnic communities together to fight poverty and crime.

“Being a coalition builder is not coming together to sing Kumbaya,” Bass, a Democratic lawmaker who has represented her Los Angeles district in Congress since 2011, told a crowd outside the Ebell Theater in the city’s Wilshire neighborhood. “Being a coalition builder is about marshaling all of the resources, all of the skills, the knowledge, the talent of this city…to solve your problems.”

Scott, the Little Rock mayor who also serves as the president of the African American Mayors Association, points out that 14 of the nation’s 50 most populous cities have Black mayors — including London Breed of San Francisco, Eric Johnson of Dallas, Vi Lyles of Charlotte and Cavalier Johnson in Milwaukee.

The successes of these elected officials, Scott said, demonstrates not only the progress of racial acceptance across the nation, but the embrace of progressive policies being championed by candidates who can draw on a wealth of experience upon taking office.

“She is an esteemed national leader that’s been leading on the national stage for quite some time,” Scott said of Bass. “She’s going to be a great asset to the African American Mayors Association, where she brings …her legislative prowess to help us understand public policy.”

While none of these four biggest city mayors is the first Black person to helm their respective city, it is notable that during previous periods in history there were only two African American mayors of major cities serving at the same time.

Trailblazing Black mayors like Carl Stokes of Cleveland, who was elected in 1968, and Maynard Jackson, who was elected Atlanta’s first Black mayor in 1973, were swept into office on the heels of the civil rights movement. Their victories also came after decades of disinvestment in urban areas gave way to suburban sprawl and led to droves of residents who could afford to move away from city centers — at the time, largely white families — to flee.

Tom Bradley, the iconic Los Angeles mayor who served two decades and whose international airport bears his name, was also elected in 1973.

Bradley overlapped with Chicago’s revered Mayor Harold Washington, who served three years before his death in 1987. A few years later, New York elected its first Black mayor, David Dinkins, in 1990. Both Dinkins and Bradley left office prior to Houston’s Lee P. Brown taking office in 1998.

These contemporary mayors — Bass, Lightfoot, Turner and Adams — are all baby boomers in their 60s who took varied paths to reach the pinnacles of their elected careers.

This “Big 4” may not be intact for long. Turner, who has been reelected twice, is barred from running again once his term ends in early 2024. Lightfoot, who is seeking reelection next year in Chicago, is facing a number of challengers, including Rep. Chuy García (D-Ill.), who is thought to be her chief rival in the contest.

Prior to Bass serving six terms in Congress and being on President Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice president, she served as a member of the California Assembly, where she eventually became the first Black woman to become speaker of any legislature in the nation. Lightfoot previously was an assistant U.S. attorney in Illinois in the 1990s before being appointed to posts within the administrations of her immediate predecessors, mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, including a stint as president of the Chicago Police Board from 2015 to 2018.

Turner served nearly three decades in the Texas state legislature and ran two previous times for mayor of Houston, falling short in both 1991 and in 2003, before finally securing the city’s top job in 2015. Adams is a former police captain who spent more than 20 years with the NYPD before eventually becoming a state senator and the Brooklyn Borough president. He was sworn in as New York’s 110th mayor at the start of the year.

“There’s a uniqueness to the opportunity of having Black mayors,” Adams said in an interview last week at POLITICO’s offices in New York.

Adams said having more Black mayors and other mayors of color leading big cities affects how policy is shaped at both the Black mayors association and at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan organization that includes mayors of cities with populations greater than 30,000 residents.

His conversations with veteran Black mayors like Turner and Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, N.J., have been insightful, particularly in their push to create an urban agenda they hope will receive buy-in from the Biden administration, he said.

“A lot of those mayors look towards me because this is a big city, but I look towards them because they’ve been here already and they have been extremely helpful,” Adams said.

While Adams points to some of the benefits of working with other mayors of color, for the mayors of the nation’s biggest cities, the job often comes with the unrelenting glare of media spotlight and scrutiny. It also comes with the added and often unspoken pressure to govern equitably but also show to Black constituents that their concerns are being addressed.

“African Americans who have been in their communities [that] have been overlooked, whether it’s been a lack of investment for decades, they want to see things happen very quickly,” Turner, the longest-tenured of the big city mayors, said in an interview. “They don’t give African Americans, you know, a long runway.”

When Black voters support Black mayors, Turner said, there’s sometimes an elevated level of trust and a belief they will be sympathetic to their hardships. That’s why new policies must be intentionally targeted to cut across ethnic and socioeconomic lines to lift everyone, he said.

“You can’t just look at, okay, I’m going to ride the African American vote, and that’s gonna ride me to victory,” Turner said. “No, we live in pluralistic societies and in order to be successful, you are going to have to build coalitions.”

Bass credits her victory to building a diverse grassroots alliance that included Blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans. That helped her scrape out a narrow victory against her opponent, a former Republican who dropped more than $100 million of his own personal fortune into the mayoral contest.

Democrats also point to her victory as a bright spot during a midterm election cycle that featured several Black candidates in statewide contests who were successful in raising money and running viable campaigns, but came up short on election day.

Those races included Democrats Val Demings, who lost her Senate race to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida; Cheri Beasley, who was beaten in a contest for an open Senate seat in North Carolina; and Stacey Abrams, who was defeated by incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in their closely-watched rematch of the 2018 gubernatorial contest.

While it remains difficult for Black candidates to break through in statewide offices, the strength of the big four cities being represented by Black officials is a testament to where we are as society, according to Stefanie Brown James, the co-founder of The Collective PAC, which advocates for Black political representation in state, local and federal contests to push for legislative bodies to more accurately reflect the electorate.

She points out that some of these cities enjoy larger populations than many congressional districts. And mayors have a lot more autonomy to implement policy.

“The level of control that you have as a mayor is way more significant than what your role is as a congressman,” Brown James said.

“I also think people are becoming more aware of the role of city government and how important it is, from being able to choose, in many of these cities, who the police chief is, to who the fire chief is, having to figure out how you’re implementing policies to help the public school system,” she added. “The mayor has a huge role in that.”

Bass, who will be sworn into office on Dec. 12, will have to deal with the fallout from the City Council recording that surfaced last month.

While one council member resigned and another is in the final weeks of an expiring term, Councilmember Kevin de León has resisted calls to step down.

“That’s why what she does in her first year is really gonna matter. Who is her deputy mayor? And who does she appoint?” said Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist who heads Solidarity Strategies, which specializes in Latino outreach.

“How does she engage the younger Latino community?” he adds, saying these are key questions Latino voters who supported her will be asking. “It’s just really important that some of her first steps are to those communities, because those communities are really looking for solutions and really don’t know much about her other than she’s a Democrat and a Black woman.”

Still, this milestone for Black mayors should be celebrated, said Andy Ginther, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio, and the second vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“We’re excited. We think that the four largest cities in the U.S. are now – or will be – led by African Americans is remarkable,” Ginther, who is white, said in a phone interview.

He also points out that nine of the nation’s largest 100 cities will be represented by a Black woman mayor once Bass and Pamela Goynes-Brown of North Las Vegas are sworn in.

“I think we have more women of color serving as mayors in America than ever before,” Ginther said. “And the bottom line is, it’s about time.”

Alexander Nieves, Shia Kapos and Sally Goldenberg contributed to this report.