Trump Refuses to Disavow KKK Support
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday refused to distance himself from white nationalist and former KKK leader David Duke after the latter announced his support for Trump’s presidential bid.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday, host Jake Tapper asked Trump if he would “unequivocally condemn David Duke and say you don’t want his support.”
“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump replied. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”
Duke recently said on his radio program, “Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.” He encouraged listeners to volunteer for the campaign, saying that at Trump campaign offices, “you’re going to meet people that have the same kind of mindset that you have.”
On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Trump to repudiate the support of Duke and other white supremacist groups. Mr. Trump may have distanced himself from white supremacists, but he must do so unequivocally,” Marvin Nathan, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said in a joint statement. “It is time for him to come out firmly against these bigoted views and the people that espouse them.”
But the Republican presidential front-runner refused to do so. Asked again if he’d broadly distance himself from those groups, Trump said he knew nothing about their support for his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. “I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about,” Trump said. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. You may have groups in there that are totally fine — it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.”
Tapper tried once again to get Trump to disavow Duke’s endorsement but to no success. “Honestly, I don’t know David Duke,” he stated. “I don’t believe I’ve ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”
On Friday, Trump mildly rejected Duke’s support. “I disavow, okay?” Trump said during a press conference. A man wearing a shirt reading “KKK endorses Trump,” was also ejected from a campaign rally.
On Monday, Trump blamed CNN for providing a “lousy earpiece” in explaining why he refused to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke. “I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was various groups, and I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke,” the Republican presidential front-runner explained on NBC’s “Today” show. “Now, I go, and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly, he talked about groups. And I have no problem with disavowing groups, but I’d, at least, like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group, Matt, if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”