…I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about White Supremacists. – Donald Trump, commenting on David Duke’s endorsement
As heard in the video above, David Duke did indeed endorse Republican front runner Donald Trump stating that those with Western European heritage voting against Trump would be treason to their heritage. Which is coded language for saying a vote against Trump is equivalent to being a mythical “race traitor.” Also, Trump never denounced the Ku Klux Klan in the interview with Jake Tapper earlier today. CNN quickly pointed this oddity out as well.
— CNN (@CNN) February 28, 2016
In 1927, Fred Trump was arrested on Memorial Day during a KKK rally in Queens. Fred Trump is the father of Donald Trump and despite the arrest being confirmed, Donald Trump denied it ever occurred. Donald had the opportunity to denounce the KKK and their support for his candidacy, but he chose not to do so.
However, was he telling the truth about his knowledge of David Duke?
Trump Had Previous Knowledge of David Duke
As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow. pic.twitter.com/OIXFKPUlz2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
That clip was from Friday when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump for President, in his answer he shows his awareness of Duke and his political associations. This was not the first time Trump addressed David Duke publicly. In 2000, Trump decided to not run for President as a member of the Reform Party, directly referencing David Duke in a statement.
The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep. – Donald Trump, addressing why he declined to run for President as apart of the Reform Party
Trump was caught in a tough situation with Jake Tapper, in South Carolina 16% of his support was from those who openly admitted to being White Supremacists, any denouncing of the Ku Klux Klan endangers him of losing their support during the Primary cycle. Trump quickly received criticism.
We cannot be a party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. – Florida Senator Marco Rubio, at a Virginia rally on Sunday
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2016
Hate groups have no place in America. We are stronger together. End of story. -Johnhttps://t.co/KtFvFSu4DP
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) February 28, 2016
America's first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hatemonger who refuses to condemn the KKK.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 28, 2016
Of note, Donald Trump has still not publicly commented on whether or not he wishes to distance himself from the KKK.
Who Exactly Is David Duke
David Duke recently gave an interview with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, where he took the opportunity to hijack the interview and give a perfect snapshot of who he is as an individual.
Duke has a long history of being involved with the KKK and has strong Anti-Semitic views despite his denial of such. Any perceived attachment by a Presidential candidate to David Duke would destroy their campaign during a General Election.
Will This Hurt Donald Trump
If he is the Republican nominee for President, it will most definitely hurt his chances on winning the General Election. This was an unforced gaffe that he could not afford to have despite his commanding lead in the Republican nomination process.
Despite the gravity of these comments, it’s highly unlikely that it will hurt him on Super Tuesday or upcoming primaries. Even if it does hurt his percentages slightly, he will still be able to hold onto his leads unless the remaining Republican field continue to attack him on this front and how hollow his policy proposals are.