Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee and former Massachusetts governor, demanded via Twitter that Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, be disqualified from the presidential race because of his “coddling” of the Ku Klux Klan’s “repugnant bigotry.”
Romney is, of course, referring to what many have seen as Trump’s unclear stance on his endorsement from former Klan leader, David Duke.
Duke urged listeners on his radio show to vote for the Republican front-runner, saying a vote for any other candidate would be “treason to your heritage.”
While the former Klansman stopped short of making an official endorsement, he did support Trump’s candidacy and hoped the billionaire “does everything we hope he will do.”
Trump disavowed the former Grand Wizard’s support on Friday, but during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, he seemed to dodge the question over whether he would ” unequivocally condemn David Duke.”
“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 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.”
He later blamed the problem on a bad earpiece.
“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. But what I heard was various groups. And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke, and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference.”
Trump also later tweeted his earlier disavowal of David Duke.
This is not the first time the former real estate mogul has been associated with the far right. On February 28, Trump tweeted a quote attributed to Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini.
“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
It is also not the first time Mitt Romney has attacked “The Donald”, a man who endorsed him in the 2012 elections.
The former governor has repeatedly expressed his suspicions about the Republican candidate’s taxes.
“Frankly, I think we have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Romney told Fox News.
Romney stated that Trump may be lying about his wealth or not paying the kind of taxes expected of him.
“Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay, or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”
Trump fired back at Romney, tweeting that the 2012 Republican candidate was a “dope” and “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics.”
In a later tweet, Trump promised that he was going to do what Mitt Romney was unable to do four years earlier – win.
It is too early to tell whether or not Trump’s apparent refusal to condemn the Ku Klux Klan during his CNN interview will hurt him in the polls.
What is almost certain, though, is that it will not help him court minority voters.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]