Donald Trump continues to get roasted in the news media and on social media and from members of his own party for the fumbled David Duke question, but Hillary Clinton may also have her own KKK connection that she has yet to be asked about.
Trump is now blaming the controversy on a “bad earpiece,” but during a Sunday morning CNN interview, he inexplicably declined to disavow endorsements by David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. Trump also claimed he was unfamiliar with David Duke.
Trump is still favored to win big on Super Tuesday tomorrow, assuming polling data is accurate.
What’s strange about the whole CNN episode is that the GOP front-runner disavowed Duke several times earlier in the week. Moreover, in the year 2000, he declined to run for president on the Reform Party ticket because David Duke was a member of that group. Trump has also disavowed Duke on Twitter and Facebook.
Hillary Clinton, currently the Democrat presidential front-runner, heaped praise on colleague Robert Byrd when he passed away in June 2010 without mentioning a disturbing part of his resume.
West Virginia’s Robert Byrd, a Democrat, served in the U.S. Senate for 51 years, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1977 to 1981 and 1987 to 1989. Byrd was a former member of the Ku Klux Klan in his state. Parenthetically, another Democrat member in the same chamber, Alabama Senator Hugo Black, later elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court by FDR, was also a member of the Klan.
Senator Byrd also filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act in an attempt to block it from receiving an up-or-down vote and voted against it when it came up for a final vote.
“He later renounced his actions in both cases and called his membership in the KKK ‘the worst mistake of my life,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a statement upon the senator’s passing, Hillary Clinton (who by then had left the Senate to become Secretary of State) offered this assessment of her friend and mentor from whom she attempted to gain an endorsement when she ran for president in 2008.
“It is almost impossible to imagine the United States Senate without Robert Byrd. He was not just its longest-serving member, he was its heart and soul. From my first day in the Senate, I sought out his guidance, and he was always generous with his time and his wisdom. I admired his tireless advocacy for his constituents, his fierce defense of the Constitution and the traditions of the Senate, and his passion for government that improves the lives of the people it serves. And as Secretary of State, I continued to rely on his advice and counsel…”
At Senator Robert Byrd’s funeral, ex-President Bill Clinton tried to minimize the KKK connection.
“He once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan and what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected. Any maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done. And he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does. There are no perfect people. There certainly are no perfect politicians.”
In a memoir published in 2005, an apologetic Byrd seemed to downplay his role in the Klan by explaining it away as a “youthful indiscretion,” the Washington Post explained.
“In it, Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career….While Byrd provides the most detailed description of his early involvement with the Klan, conceding that he reflected ‘the fears and prejudices I had heard throughout my boyhood,’ the account is not complete. He does not acknowledge the full length of time he spent as a Klan organizer and advocate. Nor does he make any mention of a particularly incendiary letter he wrote in 1945 complaining about efforts to integrate the military.”
In an MSNBC interview with erstwhile Trump supporter “Morning Joe” Scarborough about the whole Trump-David Duke dodge controversy that is consuming a lot of media oxygen, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wondered about a possible double standard. “Do you think Hillary Clinton is going to have to answer for her relationship with Sen. Robert Byrd who was an actual member of the KKK?”
[Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP]
Added: Trump supporters Diamond and Silk weigh in on the David Duke controversy.