Former US vice president Mike Pence called on ex-president Donald Trump to apologise for having dinner with rapper Ye — formerly known as Kanye West — as well as a known white nationalist and anti-Semite.
Mr Pence said the former president had exercised “profoundly poor judgment” when hosting Ye and Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last week.
“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologise for it,” Mr Pence said during an interview with NewsNation on Monday.
Mr Pence, who could challenge Mr Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, said he does not believe the former president is a white nationalist or an anti-Semite, but said he “demonstrated profoundly poor judgment”.
Other prominent Republicans joined in criticising the former president.
Marco Rubio, a US senator from Florida, called Mr Fuentes “evil” and said the meeting with Mr Trump “legitimised” him.
Mr Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill that he had “no idea” how Mr Fuentes and Ye were permitted inside Mar-a-Lago.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, said “there is no bottom to the degree to which president Trump will degrade himself and the nation”.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday that “there is just no place for these types of vile forces in our society”.
And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is Jewish, called Mr Trump's dining with Mr Fuentes “disgusting and dangerous”.
“All should condemn him giving an anti-Semite even the smallest platform — much less a dinner audience,” he said.
The US Justice Department has described Mr Fuentes as a white supremacist and he attended a Trump rally on January 6, 2021, which preceded the attack on the US Capitol.
The Anti-Defamation League said Mr Fuentes once "'jokingly' denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven”.
Mr Trump said on Truth Social that he had met Ye to offer him business advice.
“We also discussed, to a lesser extent, politics, where I told him he should definitely not run for president,” he wrote.
The former president maintained that he did not know Mr Fuentes.
Reuters contributed to this report