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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney called former President Donald Trump's dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, "disgusting."
"There is no bottom to the degree to which he's willing to degrade himself, and the country for that matter. Having dinner with those people was disgusting," Romney said, according to NBC News, noting that he "voted to remove (Trump) from office twice" and saying "anybody else" would be a better party leader.
"I don't think he should be president of the United States. I don't think he should be the nominee of our party in 2024," he said. "And I certainly don't want him hanging over our party like a gargoyle."
One week after Trump announced he would seek reelection, he dined at his Mar-a-Lago home with Ye and Fuentes.
Fuentes is a Holocaust-denier who has threatened violence against Jewish people and spread hate against Black Americans and other groups. The Department of Justice identified him as a white supremacist last year.
Ye has also been rebuked for making antisemitic and anti-Black comments on social media.
Trump claimed he "knew nothing about" Fuentes, a known figure in far-right circles, saying he showed up "unexpectedly" at the dinner with Ye, NBC News reported.
"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," Trump said Friday in a statement on his Truth Social platform.
"We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful," Trump said. "They then left for the airport."
The meeting drew widespread criticism from people across the political spectrum, but sitting Republican lawmakers were mostly silent.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said Trump should apologize for having dinner with Ye and Fuentes.
"President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table," Pence said in an interview on NewsNation. "I think he should apologize for it and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification."
Pence went on to say that he doesn't believe Trump is an antisemite or a racist or bigot.
"People often forget that the president's daughter converted to Judaism, his son-in-law is a devout Jew, his grandchildren are Jewish," he said.
But, Pence said, Trump "demonstrated profoundly poor judgment in giving those individuals a seat at the table."
Romney has said that if Trump runs again, he would likely be the Republican Party nominee. Earlier this month, he said it's time for the GOP to move on from Trump.
"I think that President Trump and election denying was an albatross around Republican necks," said Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, according to CNN. "And frankly, I think he's been on the mountain too long. We've lost three races with him. And I'd like to see someone from the bench come up and take his place and lead our party and help lead the country."