Following revelations that Donald Trump sat down to dinner earlier in the week with infamous anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes, Robert Costa of CBS News tweeted out a series of posts explaining that it not surprising that extremists are insinuating themselves in close proximity to GOP lawmakers and that is a growing trend.
As Costa explained, some GOP lawmakers and their aides keep close tabs on the more extreme elements of their base and occasionally meet with the leaders of those factions believing outrage will blow over quickly afterward if word gets out.
Trump's dinner with Fuentes set off a wave of outrage and disgust -- even among some conservatives -- but Costa said it won't be the first or last time the controversy will raise its head.
"Here’s how it works: Most elected Rs and their advisers closely follow the movements of base voters and track how they gather information. While they prefer to cast that ecosystem as something like a country club message board + Trump rallies, they know it’s anything but that," Costa wrote. "For over a decade, since I began tracking it, there has been a rising, online extreme media landscape that now churns daily, but it is often on closed social media groups outside of media glare. It is in these spaces where unvarnished hate about Jewish people, racism is rampant."
According to the CBS reporter, Fuentes is a prime example of how it all comes together.
"Nick Fuentes, while young, has gained major traction in these spaces. He links himself and his followers to core tenets of Trumpism by chanting 'America First' and uses monologues in the style of Alex Jones to gain notoriety with a cackling, racist, and grim take on modern U.S." he explained. "People in the GOP have noticed. Fuentes is not someone who has slipped under the radar. If you follow the base, you can’t somehow not see it, just like you can’t pretend groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers aren’t gaining ground in these same online spaces, too."
He then wrote, "And some Rs are more overt than others in winking at, or meeting with, these types. But it’s often in the style of Rep. MTG earlier this year, when she spoke at Fuentes event. A brush up against that bloc, then quick distancing. And the cost of the brush up? Not a career killer…"
Linking to a story from Axios, he added, "In fact, as @axios notes, months after appearing with Fuentes, 'Greene… is one of the most influential Republicans in the House' and a key player in keeping Trump base close to the House GOP leadership."