David Duke is back and recently announced that he will be running for Senate in Louisiana. The former KKK leader and Holocaust denier is using the momentum behind Donald Trump’s campaign to help propel himself back into the political arena. Duke believes that many of Trump’s supporters will happily vote for him, and based on recent polls, he is right. Despite Trump and Duke’s common support base and history of making some pretty inflammatory remarks, the U.S. Senate hopeful says he doesn’t believe the Republican presidential nominee is a racist.
NPR‘s Steve Inskeep recently interviewed David Duke, who has long made political waves and is known for his previous role as a Grand Wizard in the Ku Klux Klan. It seems that with Trump’s shocking popularity as a possible president of the United States, Duke believes that now is the time to capitalize on several similarities between his own interests and many of Donald Trump’s talking points.
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“As a United States senator, nobody will be more supportive of his legislative agenda, his Supreme Court agenda, than I will,” Duke said. “I have a long record of being in favor of protecting our borders from this massive immigration.”
It looks like Donald Trump’s voting base in Louisiana does highly favor David Duke for U.S. Senate. In a recent poll, Louisiana voters who plan to vote for Trump also reportedly will show up with a vote for Duke at a rate of around 75 to 80 percent. In such a heavily Republican-dominated state, this spells trouble for those who may want to avoid a Donald Trump presidency and a U.S. Senate that will support his ideology.
During the interview, Duke went over much of his previous pro-European rhetoric that he denies to be racist. Instead, the former KKK leader tried to flip the script, citing the “massive racist, racial discrimination against European-Americans.” David Duke went on to describe what he believes to be a “very vicious anti-white narrative” that has been taking over in the United States.
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Steve Inskeep said of David Duke, “[He] went on for a while, unspooling old racist theories that he said were not racist. He said Europeans built America, though his own state was built in large part by the descendants of Africans. He wrote Jews out of Europe’s history.”
David Duke seemed to take offense at the notion that Donald Trump is racist or that his agenda carries an overtly racist message. When asked why he thought lifetime Republicans were leaving the party and putting their support behind Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, Duke claimed that lies were being told about Trump much like the ones that he claims were told about him. Duke didn’t seem to explain how his ideology, and that heard in many Trump speeches, isn’t inherently racist, especially considering that he is singling out and condemning entire groups of people simply on the basis of race.
“I think that those Republicans, or those so-called conservatives, they are betraying the principles of the Republican Party and certainly conservatism,” Duke said. “Donald Trump is not a racist. And the truth is in this country if you simply defend the heritage of European American people then you’re automatically a racist.”
Does David Duke’s argument that Donald Trump is not racist prove that the Republican presidential nominee actually is promoting some pretty racist ideas in his campaign? Back in March, when Duke initially endorsed Trump, the Republican nominee hesitated when faced with pressure to denounce the former KKK leader’s endorsement.
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It was reported by Marilyn Mayo of the Anti-Defamation League that while Trump himself may not be actively racist, he does support and promote many directives that have been important issues to the white supremacist movement.
“They don’t see Trump as a white nationalist, but he is mainstreaming some of the issues they hold dear, like keeping Mexicans and Muslims out of the country,” said Mayo via NBC News. “He’s become a voice for some of their views.”
Even though Donald Trump denounced the support of David Duke, the former KKK leader has made it clear that without Trump, his possible return to politics by way of the U.S. Senate may not have been possible.
[Photo by Max Becherer/AP Images]