Pence ‘Bothered’ by Duke’s Praise of Trump

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence on Sunday said he’s troubled by David Duke’s continual praise of his running mate, Donald Trump.

“It does really bother me, ” Pence told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “And Donald Trump made it clear repeatedly in this week that not only does he denounce David Duke, but we don’t want the support of people who think like David Duke.”

But Pence kicked the ball back into Hillary Clinton’s court by pointing out that the father of the Orlando nightclub terrorist attended a rally and expressed his support for the Democratic nominee. “The fact that an individual, a contemptible individual like that supports my running mate is no more relevant than the fact that the father of a man who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida, was cheering Hillary Clinton at one of her rallies,” he said.

Trump disavowed Duke and condemned his anti-Semitic comments in May, but was criticized for not disavowing the former KKK leader sooner.

On Thursday, Clinton brought up Trump’s tepid repudiation of Duke to make a point that the Republican nominee has been turning a blind eye on his white nationalist and anti-Semitic supporters.

“From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia,” Clinton said. “He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties… Of course, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”

In a speech on Friday, Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, followed up by saying, “Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, Donald Trump values are not American values.”

But Pence brushed off the attacks “outrageous charges,” calling it a “desperate” attempt to stop Trump from closing the gap. “I don’t talk a lot about the polls, Jake, but I know the polls are all closing up,” he asserted. “And the fact that you see Democrats and Hillary Clinton and her running mate rolling out the same old playbook of racial divisiveness sounds a little bit to me like an act of desperation.”

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