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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trump Won't Disavow the Ku Klux Klan

In 2000, Donald Trump cited Duke as a reason not to seek the Reform Party nomination.  On February 14, 2000, Adam Nagourney reported:

Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics.

"The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani," he said in his statement. "This is not company I wish to keep."

Eric Bradner reports at CNN:

Donald Trump wouldn't disavow David Duke's support for his presidential bid, saying Sunday that he knows nothing about the white supremacist leader.

"Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?" Trump told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

"I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists," he said. "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."

The Anti-Defamation League had called on Trump to repudiate the support of Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist groups.

Asked if he'd broadly distance himself from those groups, Trump demurred, saying 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 responded: "OK. I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but --"

And Trump said: "Honestly, I don't know David Duke. 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."