Republicans reacted with outrage over Ye’s virulently antisemitic comments to right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones Thursday — the latest in a string of episodes involving the rapper that have forced elected Republicans to scurry for distance.
Ye appeared on Jones’ “InfoWars” show with Nick Fuentes — the known racist and antisemite who joined Ye at Mar-a-Lago last week to dine with former President Donald Trump — and made a host of antisemitic comments with his face covered by a black mask. The rapper formerly known as Kanye West repeated the lie that the Holocaust did not happen while praising Adolf Hitler.
“I like Hitler,” Ye told Jones, later adding: “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.”
Republicans who once seemed to revel in associating with the rapper and his vocal support for Trumpism, have grimaced as Ye’s behavior has become increasingly erratic and hateful in recent weeks. But Thursday’s interview was a breaking point for some of them.
“Kanye West is a deranged Anti-semite,” New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, one of the few Republican Jewish members of Congress who lost his bid for governor this year, told POLITICO in a statement. “I want absolutely nothing to do with that lunatic. He’s totally bad news.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition slammed the Ye-Fuentes appearance with Jones, who was recently ordered to pay $965 million in damages to those who suffered from his lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, as a “horrific cesspool of dangerous, bigoted Jew hatred.”
Without mentioning Trump by name, the GOP Jewish group urged “all political leaders to reject these messengers of hate and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong,” a reference to Ye, Fuentes and Jones. The group added: “Conservatives who have mistakenly indulged Kanye West must make clear that he is a pariah. Enough is enough.”
Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), a rising star in the GOP, tweeted that Ye’s “anti-Semitic comments today were disgusting,” blasting the rapper in “the strongest possible terms. We must call out this hateful rhetoric and root out anti-Semitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”
The social media platform Parler announced plans to halt their intent of sale to Ye on Thursday, but said it had cut ties with him in mid-November.
Republican lawmakers, who mostly declined to condemn Trump over his meal with Ye and Fuentes, focused their fire primarily toward Fuentes in denouncing that meeting.
Ye’s high-profile, unpredictable words and behavior have not stopped conservatives from elevating him as a messenger of the MAGA movement and Christian evangelism; the man who once declared that “George [W.] Bush doesn’t care about Black people” swung drastically to the right, espousing support for Trumpism and meeting with the former president multiple times.
Following the Thursday interview, a Twitter account representing the House Judiciary Committee’s GOP members deleted an October tweet that said simply “Kanye. Elon. Trump,” appearing to praise Ye alongside the new owner of Twitter and the former president. The tweet had drawn scathing criticism from Democrats on the now-Musk-owned social platform as Ye escalated his public antisemitic comments in recent months.
Ye himself was restricted from Twitter in October, after posting that he would go “death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.” He lost corporate partnerships, including celebrated collections with Adidas and Gap, shortly after — even as the minority Judiciary Committee tweet remained online.
A spokesperson for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the party’s top member on the Judiciary panel and its chair-in-waiting, did not immediately return a request for comment on the tweet’s deletion.
Earlier in October, conservative media personality Tucker Carlson hosted Ye for a lengthy interview.
The rapper had recently revealed a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week.
“Is West crazy? You can judge for yourself,” Carlson said before broadcasting extended excerpts of the interview, in which Ye defended the “White Lives Matter” message.
Ye, who launched an independent presidential campaign in the 2020 cycle, has acknowledged having bipolar disorder. However, no particular belief system is a symptom of bipolar disorder, and “racism itself is not a mental health disorder,” University of Georgia Prof. Isha Metzger told the Washington Post last month.
The raw footage of the interview included even more disconcerting content than what appeared on TV, Vice News later reported, including strange metaphors about Black people and an implication that Jewish people participate in “financial engineering,” a historically antisemitic claim.
“Crazy? That was not our conclusion,” Carlson told his viewers on-air.