Trump disavowed former Klan leader Duke’s support in a Friday news conference. But when asked about it Sunday by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump refused three times to denounce Duke or the KKK.
“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump told Tapper. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”
(The “I know nothing about David Duke” answer was puzzling because Trump, when announcing in 2000 that he wouldn’t run as a Reform Party candidate for president, noted Duke’s involvement in the party and said the former Klansman and others were “not the company I wish to keep.”)
When Tapper followed up, mentioning “groups and individuals endorsing you,” Trump asked for a list of the groups.
“I’m just talking about David Duke and the KKK,” Tapper said.
“I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him and I just don’t know anything about him,” Trump said.
On the Today show this morning, Trump pinned the controversy on an equipment malfunction.
“So let me tell you, I’m sitting in a house in Florida (his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach) 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 a day before at a major news conference,” Trump said.
Later, he added: “Now, I go and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly he talked about groups…It would be very unfair to disavow a group, Matt (Lauer), if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke…I disavowed David Duke all weekend long, on Facebook, on Twitter, and obviously it’s never enough.”