Donald Trump, after a blistering attack by John Oliver last night, stated this morning that he disavows the endorsement he received from Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, claiming the whole mess was a misunderstanding due to a faulty earpiece. During a CNN interview earlier this week, Donald Trump was asked by anchor Jake Tapper whether or not he disavows or rejects the endorsement of the one-time grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. Trump’s reply was that he’d never heard of David Duke, and he didn’t know anything about him or his ties to white supremacist movements in the U.S., reports Time.
This morning, however, Donald Trump released a statement condemning David Duke after he was publicly caught in a lie by numerous media outlets this past week, including a particularly incisive attack from HBO’s John Oliver last night. Trump says he simply didn’t hear Jake Tapper’s question, that his earpiece was on the fritz, and he could barely make out what Tapper was saying during the CNN interview, reports Bloomberg.
“I sit down and I have a lousy earpiece provided by them, what I heard was ‘various groups.’ I have no problem disavowing groups but I’d at least like to know who they are. It’d be very unfair disavowing a group if they shouldn’t be disavowed,” Trump told NBC’s Today this morning.
As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow. pic.twitter.com/OIXFKPUlz2— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
Here’s the video of Trump declining to denounce the KKK https://t.co/cyEOJM7MWW— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 28, 2016
During the John Oliver segment, the clip of Donald Trump acknowledging and then claiming ignorance about David Duke was played alongside a series of tweets in which Trump clearly and directly addresses David Duke, who he calls a “bigot.”
As the Inquisitr reported earlier, the segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight called Donald Trump’s character into question, covering everything from his reputation to his failed efforts as a purveyor of fine meats. John Oliver claimed during the segment that Donald Trump has something of a complicated relationship with the truth, oftentimes ignoring it outright whenever it suits his personal agenda. In particular, John Oliver cited numerous examples when Trump has said one thing and later backpedaled and claimed he never made the earlier statement – just as he has with the David Duke controversy.
It comes as no surprise that Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, hit the airwaves this morning in an indirect response to the withering criticism from HBO’s John Oliver. Marco Rubio, who has been openly feuding with Trump, addressed the controversy just this morning at a campaign rally.
“I don’t care how bad the earpiece is, Ku Klux Klan comes through pretty clearly,” Rubio said, calling Donald Trump “unelectable.”
The John Oliver segment also took aim at the most valuable thing Trump possesses: his name. The Trump name has been synonymous with wealth and luxury since the 1980’s when Donald Trump became a household name in part due to a bitter and well-publicized divorce. In fact, Donald Trump himself values his brand at around $3 billion, according to HBO.
So what better way for the late night comedian to take aim at Donald Trump than to reveal to his viewers the original name the Trump family held before migrating to the United States more than three generations ago: “Drumpf.”
According to a biographer chronicling three generations of the Trump family, the family name was originally Drumpf, which sounds, according to John Oliver, a lot less like the name of a wealthy and powerful family. Taking the fight to the internet, John Oliver urged followers to download an extension for Google’s Chrome browser, which would replace all instances of “Donald Trump” with “Donald Drumpf” and to tweet the results using the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain.
Donald Trump and the Trump campaign have yet to directly respond to the John Oliver segment and the “Donald Drumpf” smear campaign.
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]