Business tycoon and former TV personality Donald Trump may be leading the Republican nomination race, but a recent blunder on national television has allowed his rivals to pick on him.
The billionaire appeared on CNN’s State of the Union where host John Tapper pushed him to make a comment regarding white supremacists, particularly David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), who is supporting his campaign.
Tapper asked Trump if he would disavow or distance himself from the group, which aims to promote the rights and privileges of white Americans.
After feeling the pressure, Donald Trump conceded that he does not know anything about Duke, and failed to mention the KKK in all of his answers.
Donald Trump refuses to condemn Ku Klux Klan, disavow David Duke endorsement https://t.co/g1LDiRPQix
— TIME.com (@TIME) February 28, 2016
“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump said.
After being asked three times about the issue, Trump, 69, answered on national television that he does not know anything about 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,” he added.
Donald Trump Pretends to Not Know David Duke and the KKK
His answers completely contradict an announcement he made in a press conference held on Friday, in which he commented on the news that Duke, the grand wizard of the KKK had endorsed him.
“David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?” he said at that time.
Because the media and public who saw the announcement knew what he had said, it came as a surprise that he feigned ignorance regarding Duke and the initiative being pushed by the clan, as well as other white supremacy groups for that matter.
Donald Trump Previously “Disavowed” the KKK Leader’s Endorsement
“I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about,” said Donald Trump.
In addition, he said that before he decides to condemn a group, he should first learn something about that group through research. If he thinks something is wrong, then he would obviously disavow the group.
It is worth noting that in 2000, when Donald Trump almost ran for the presidency under the Reform Party, he ultimately decided against it because the party was “full of extremists.”
“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” Trump told the New York Times at that time. “This is not company I wish to keep,” he added.
However, apparently things have slightly changed for Trump, who is now reluctant in condemning white supremacists. One report pointed out that doing so could “demoralize his base” of supporters, who are composed of white nationalists.
— Slate (@Slate) February 28, 2016
A few hours after the CNN interview, Trump posted a tweet, which definitely does not help his earlier mistake of not disavowing Duke and the KKK on national television.
“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep,” said the tweet, which was a quote from the fascist Italian leader Benito Mussolini.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
Fellow Republican candidates lashed out at Trump after his failure to disavow the KKK.
“This is really sad Donald Trump, you’re better than this. We should all agree racism is wrong. The KKK is abhorrent,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
— Independent Journal (@INJO) February 28, 2016
Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had some choice words for the Republican nomination front-runner in a rally in Virginia.
“We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan,” Rubio said during his speech.
Rubio even went on to say that Trump’s inability to stand up against KKK and racism makes him “unelectable.”
— Justin Green (@JGreenDC) February 28, 2016
Later on, Donald Trump posted another Tweet, emphasizing that he already disavowed Duke on Friday.
[Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]