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Pence Still Refuses to Call David Duke ‘Deplorable’ But Does Call Him ‘Bad Man’

Republican vice-presidential candidate and Indiana Governor Mike Pence enjoyed a second day of newsworthiness when he appeared at a press conference Tuesday morning following a meeting with House Republicans, and was asked why he refused to call former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke “deplorable.”

Pence declined to call Duke “deplorable” in a CNN interview Monday, and at Tuesday’s presser, expressed confusion over why Duke’s name keeps coming up, while repeating his assertion that his refusal to call Duke “deplorable” stemmed from his non-membership in the name-calling business community. However, seconds later, Pence did call Duke by a negative, but decidedly less emphatic, appellation than “deplorable”:

I have no idea why this man keeps coming up. I mean, Donald Trump and I have denounced David Duke repeatedly. We have said that we do not want his support. And we do not want the support of people who think like him. And yesterday I was — I was asked a question about that. I repeated that again. And the simple fact is I’m not in the name calling business. My colleagues know I believe civility is essential. I’m also not going to validate the language that Hillary Clinton used to describe the American people. I mean, look, millions of Americans know, and frankly you all know, Hillary Clinton wasn’t talking about that bad man. She was talking about people all across this country.

Pence has already been the recipient of gratitude from Duke for not calling him “deplorable,” which is the word that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used to describe the half of Donald Trump supporters who hold racist, sexist, Islamophobic, or xenophobic views.

Pence was asked about Duke’s most recent comments, and he responded that “it’s a free country,” and pointed to the attendance of the Orlando shooter’s father at a Hillary Clinton rally:

This was a catastrophic insult to the American people.

David Duke has recently boasted that his fellow white nationalists make up a majority of the Republican “rank and file,” and since Hillary made her “basket of deplorables” remark, many have quoted polls supporting her comment.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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