House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks with reporters at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, about his meeting with President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Watch: Kevin McCarthy reacts to Trump's dinner with Holocaust denier
01:55 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A week after Donald Trump dined with White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy finally addressed the controversy.

Here is what he told reporters after a meeting at the White House on Tuesday:

“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn’t know who he was.”

McCarthy said all the right things about Fuentes having no role in the Republican Party and totally disavowing those who seek to spend time with him. But that’s the only part about his statement that really makes any sense.

In the aftermath of the dinner, Trump has claimed on several occasions that he didn’t know who Fuentes was, but never actually condemned him. In one Truth Social post last Friday, Trump wrote: “This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. 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.”

After a reporter pointed out this fact to McCarthy, he said of Fuentes: “Well, I condemn his ideology, it has no place in society.”

One source told CNN that during the dinner, Trump found Fuentes “very interesting” and at one point declared that he “liked” him.

Rather than condemn Fuentes, Trump has spent the last few days pushing all sorts of false election conspiracy theories – and even took time to attack GOP consultant Karl Rove.

Then, there are the claims that Trump didn’t know who Fuentes was.

As a former president of the United States – and an announced candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination – it’s Trump’s responsibility to know who he’s meeting with! An audience with the former president is a VERY big deal and confers a certain statue and status. You have to know that if you are Trump or the people around him.

So, good on McCarthy for calling out Fuentes and making clear that his views are abhorrent.

But he doesn’t get a pass on somehow suggesting that Trump has already reckoned with the giant mistake of having dinner with Fuentes. Trump hasn’t. Period.