When asked about former Klansmen and Louisiana GOP gubernatorial candidate David Duke’s endorsement of his campaign, with a straight face, Donald Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?”
For good measure, Trump added:
I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about.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.
Given how Trump has offended nearly everyone else now all of a sudden he doesn’t want to offend the Klan of all groups? Does he really need the white supremacist vote that badly?
With this in mind, does anyone honestly believe that Trump has never heard of David Duke?
No and neither does Trump.
Duke’s support was first brought to Trump’s attention on Friday when Chris Christie appeared at a rally to endorse him. When asked about Duke’s support, he said, “David Duke endorse me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?”
When he decided against running for President on the Reform Party ticket in 2000, he stated, “The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.”
Evidently, in 2016, it would seem Trump finds the company of Duke and The Klan far less objectionable.
Honestly, I am surprised the Duke endorsement wasn’t brought up during last Thursday’s debate. But now it’s front and center. Consider what I wrote about this a few hours before the debate:
If Trump disavows Duke unequivocally then he’s OK (unless he calls Duke a great guy a few days later). But if Trump dodges the question or hesitates then there’s an opening. The question is which Republican rival will take it.
But given that Trump has gotten away with accusing former President Bush of lying about WMDs and blaming him for 9/11, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility Trump could get away with having Duke’s support in the GOP primaries. So let’s assume Teflon Don survives the praise of David Duke and wins the Republican nomination. You can bet Hillary Clinton will be broadcasting David Duke’s voice to every African-American, Latino and other minority voter in the country from now until election day.
At first, it looked like Trump had done the right thing only to now dodge and hesitate. No, he didn’t call Duke a great guy, but refusing to condemn Duke (especially after having previously condemned him) he might as well have. If Trump hasn’t stepped on a third rail with a figure as reviled as David Duke (and for that matter The Klan) then he is truly shock proof and nothing will bring him down.