David Duke, former KKK grand wizard and current white nationalist, has crept back into headlines for his pseudo-endorsement of Donald Trump.
Media outlets pressured Trump, at first unsuccessfully, to disavow the “endorsement” that was made on the David Duke Radio Program. Trump first said he would have to research who Duke and his group were before disavowing, then blamed a faulty earpiece, before finally disavowing multiple times.
As a result of the hesitancy, he has been attacked multiple times by different media personalities as well as rival Democrats and members of his own party.
However, a newly surfaced NPR interview with David Duke from 2008 indicates that there may be a double standard at work.
That’s because David Duke — yes, the same David Duke — “endorsed” President Obama in 2008, and no one ever asked him to disavow.
Now before getting into the “endorsement,” it’s important to note that Duke’s endorsement of Trump was not a formal endorsement. He even went as far to say, “I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump.”
“In fact,” he continued, “I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”
It’s clear from these words that Duke would probably vote for Donald Trump, but that line, “I haven’t formally endorsed him,” is important because he is leaving the door open to change his views between now and the election.
Now rewind eight years to 2008. Here is what David Duke had to say when asked about his views regarding President Obama’s candidacy prior to the general election.
“He was a community activist or a black activist. He’s been in the church for 20 years that — and one of the first principles of that church is that they are, quote, “true to Africa,” loyal to Africa. There is nothing wrong with Barack Obama working and having a long career advancing what he sees as the black community interests or the black perceived interests as a group, collective interest, but I did see it as kind of odd that a man of that stripe would become president of the United States. It seems like — I think I should endorse him for president.”
Duke then commends Barack Obama, saying he can “appreciate the fact that he has achieved — that he got a degree. He’s gone to Harvard University. He has been a teacher. I am today a Ph.D. myself.”
Now it’s important to note that the interview diverges at this point, and David Duke starts to share his fears that Obama, like McCain, will promote affirmative action, but said that he would be for any President that “stood up for the rights of European-Americans.”
You get a sense from reading the interview that David Duke isn’t really going to run out and cast his vote in support of Barack Obama, while it’s likely that he will with Trump. However, when you break down what was actually said, his words for Obama come much closer to being explicitly stated than in the radio show comments favoring Trump.
This creates some degree of equity, and the press at the time should have followed up and asked President Obama to disavow any Duke “endorsement,” but they never did.
On the other hand with Trump, they were eager to ask.
Part of it is understandable in the sense that Trump attracts a broader “white nationalist” base than Obama does, so it’s of greater relevance. But it also gives the Trump campaign the ability to beef up their “press is dishonest” position that they routinely feed to followers at campaign rallies.
And this perception of bias will only continue to make Donald Trump’s support bulletproof as the country heads toward November and a probable Trump-Clinton showdown.
So what do you think, readers?
Is the press clearly biased against Donald Trump, and have they misrepresented the David Duke endorsement?
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore]