Donald Trump once boasted he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York and not lose any followers, but the 2016 GOP presidential candidate may have finally found the limit to what many of his supporters will tolerate.
Trump is now trying to backtrack and blame a “bad earpiece,” but Sunday he refused to disavow endorsements by David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. Trump claimed he didn’t have enough information about the former Grand Wizard and the notorious white supremacist hate group to write off their endorsement until he did more “research,” according to Raw Story.
“Well, 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 that there was something wrong.”
Even when CNN host Jake Tapper reminded him they were talking about the Ku Klux Klan, Trump doubled down on claiming he didn’t know enough about the KKK and other white supremacy groups.
“You may have some groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of groups and I’ll let you know.”
Unfortunately for Trump, following the interview, several media outlets posted comments he made about Duke in the past that clearly showed he did know who he was and what the KKK organization is about. Even without the clear evidence Trump’s comments were false, it looks like this time Donald Trump may have gone too far, as even MSNBC’s Trump-friendly hosts Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski called him to task for his hesitation to condemn the KKK and David Duke.
The pair are known to be huge supporters of Donald Trump and came under fire for what appeared to be bias and pandering to Trump after the release of audio from a hot mic, where they were recorded telling Trump that they would make him “look good” as Trump requested of them. Yet even Scarborough, one of Trump’s biggest supporters, not only condemned his KKK comments but went on to say unequivocally that Trump should not be president.
“It’s breathtaking. That is disqualifying right there. To say you don’t know about the Ku Klux Klan? You don’t know about David Duke? And the most stunning thing is… this isn’t buying him a single vote. Is he really so stupid that he think southerners aren’t offended by the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke?”
This morning on Today, Trump explained his failure to condemn Duke and the KKK to hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, saying it was that faulty earpiece and he didn’t fully hear the question. Guthrie, however, called out Trump for saying three times he didn’t know who Duke was, with Trump insisting it was a miscommunication, despite mentioning David Duke by name Sunday, indicating he obviously heard his name clearly.
“I’m sitting in a house in Florida, with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. What I heard was ‘various groups.’ And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke.”
Guthrie persisted against the GOP candidate, reminding Trump he had declined to run for president on the 2000 Reform Party ticket because Duke was involved, citing his history as a member of the KKK. According to the Washington Post, Trump had very strong words about Duke and seemed quite familiar with him at the time.
“[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.”
The Washington Post also reported that in 1927, a KKK-related demonstration on Memorial Day in Queens degenerated into a brawl where several people were arrested, including Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father. While the incident occurred before Donald was born, it’s clear his father had some familiarity with white supremacy groups or, at least, the KKK.
So far, Donald Trump’s run for the GOP presidential nomination seems immune to damage from controversial comments, and it’s still too soon to see how this latest misfire affects his campaign, but Trump has definitely lost the support of one of his biggest fans, Joe Scarborough.
[Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP]