Former KKK leader David Duke heaped praise upon President Donald Trump Tuesday for what Duke interpreted as the president taking back comments he had made condemning the white supremacist groups involved in a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The weekend protest that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists fought the removal of a statue of former Confederate leader Robert E. Lee, is what sparked a rash of counter-protests and violence that left three people dead.
A day after Trump had been tardy in taking a strong stance against white supremacist groups, something that prompted a Duke meltdown, the president held a news conference and spoke with a different tune. Now, Trump, who claimed his delayed response to the Virginia incident was due to the idea that “It takes a little while to get the facts,” was now saying that white nationalists weren’t entirely to blame for Saturday’s violence. The president is now spreading some of the blame to the counter-protesters.
There is “blame on both sides,” Trump said, a sentiment that has sparked and will, no doubt, continue to spark debate. Trump additionally told the press that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
Donald Trump justified his new stance by bringing past American presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson into the discussion. He made mention that both men were slave owners, saying, “Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? What about Thomas Jefferson?”
Duke greatly appreciated the president’s latest comments and took to social media to express his gratitude.
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 15, 2017
The show of appreciation from David Duke, who was in Charlottesville when protesters who included white supremacists and neo-Nazis clashed with left-leaning, anti-fascist counter-protesters Saturday, is likely to spark more criticism and consternation with Trump. Duke said at the protests that those gathered were there because of Trump. And it was at the Charlottesville rally that Duke reiterated his support for the president.
He stated, “We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and that’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back and that’s what we gotta do.”
Regardless of how the general public reacts to a former KKK leader coming to Trump’s defense, not to mention the president taking as long as he did to issue a statement on the matter, Trump continued to state that he wanted to see the facts and knew nothing of David Duke’s involvement in Charlottesville.
[Featured Image by Max Becherer/AP Images]