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Semafor LogoShelby Talcott
Shelby Talcott
politics

Ye has gone full Nazi. Here's who is caught in the fallout.

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Title iconThe News
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at a rally in 2020.
REUTERS/Randall Hill

THE NEWS

We’re not going to quote from Ye’s appearance on Alex Jones, in which the rapper formerly known as Kanye West praised the Third Reich, Nazism, and Adolf Hitler at length, while denying the Holocaust occurred.

The diatribe qualified as an international incident. Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog said in a statement that “it is alarming that such vile rhetoric is given a platform and legitimized” and warned it could lead to violence.

Ye’s gradual, then sudden, plunge into full-blown Nazism is having spillover effects through the political, media, and business landscape. Let’s review the latest.

TRUMP

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Donald Trump has still not condemned the hate tour by Ye and white nationalist sidekick Nick Fuentes, who accompanied Ye in his Thursday interview, after hosting them for dinner just ten days ago. He faces a renewed push to do so.

“Given his praise of Hitler, it can’t be overstated that Kanye West is a vile, repellent bigot who has targeted the Jewish community with threats and Nazi-style defamation,” the Republican Jewish Coalition, normally a staunch Trump ally, wrote in a statement. “Conservatives who have mistakenly indulged Kanye West must make it clear that he is a pariah. Enough is enough.”

Trump did weigh in on the dinner shortly before the Alex Jones interview, but only to hug Ye tighter.

On Truth Social, he trashed reports about Mar-a-Lago and his campaign weighing changes to how visitors are vetted. The former president called it “Fake News” and appeared to defend Ye’s presence at his home, writing: “When I know someone, as I did Ye, we’re not going to have my guests strip searched, thrown against walls, and otherwise physically beaten.” (The reporting made no mention of the actions Trump described).

After prior run-ins with extremists, Trump sometimes was able to buy space with a carefully worded statement that broadly denounced hate groups. This time, allies have been left with little to hold on to, even as one person close to Trumpworld told Semafor that they “know nobody who’s advising him to stay close to” Ye.

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HOUSE REPUBLICANS

While many Senate Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, have spoken out about Trump’s behavior, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemned Fuentes earlier this week while falsely claiming that Trump had done so as well.

On Thursday, McCarthy called the Ye interview “disgusting” while avoiding name-dropping Trump. Speaking to NBC News, he broadly called on “the entire nation” to condemn the antisemitic comments, but no one person in particular.

Some Republicans who had embraced Ye earlier in his meltdown tiptoed away. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Republicans’ Twitter account, whose October tweet “Kanye. Elon. Trump.” remained conspicuously up for months even after the rapper threatened to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” quietly deleted the message.

ELON MUSK

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Finally on Twitter, new owner Elon Musk had welcomed “my friend” Ye back to Twitter in October after a suspension for antisemitic remarks and even tweeted memes of them teaming up. Facing criticism after Ye soon followed with his “death con 3” tweet, he later said he called Ye up to dissuade him from his views.

It didn’t work.

Musk’s first response to Yes Nazi turn on Thursday was to reply to a Ye tweet mentioning him and Jesus by saying “Jesus taught love, kindness and forgiveness” and to “turn the other cheek.”

Ye went on to tweet an image mocking Musk (“That is fine,” Musk replied) and one that appeared to be a swastika inside a Star of David (“This is not,” Musk replied). The swastika post was blocked by Twitter, and Ye’s account was soon suspended, which Musk confirmed was “for incitement to violence.”

“I tried my best,” Musk tweeted.

TUCKER CARLSON

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, whose show edited out bizarre and inflammatory comments about Jews and other topics from a pre-taped interview with Ye back in October that later leaked to Vice, has stayed under the radar regarding the latest incidents. Carlson said in a segment showcasing the interview at the time that the rapper was “not crazy” and “worth listening to.”

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