Millions of Americans can now rest easy in the knowledge that when it comes to Klan legend David Duke, the science is finally settled. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has been embroiled in controversy for nearly a week over his reaction to the former Grand Dragon’s endorsement, which has ranged from feigned ignorance to snippily perfunctory disavowal. On Thursday morning, however, Trump finally passed judgment on David Duke and, during his Morning Joe interview, took a few shots at CNN’s Jake Tapper:
“David Duke is a bad person who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years, and the one question that was asked of me, I guess on CNN, he’s having a great time, he talked about groups of people, and I don’t like to disavow groups if I don’t know who they are. You could have Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in groups. I don’t know who the groups are. He’s talking about disavowing groups. That’s what I was referring to. But I disavowed him.
The “he” that Trump is referencing is Jake Tapper, who interviewed Trump on Sunday, and who asked Trump the question whose response has landed Trump in so much trouble. For the record, though, Tapper actually did ask Trump specifically about David Duke and the Klan, and Trump did repeat the question back to him:
TAPPER: I want to ask you about the Anti-Defamation League, which this week called on you to publicly condemn unequivocally the racism of former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be treason to your heritage.
Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?
TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. OK? 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, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.
TAPPER: But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don’t want their support?
TRUMP: Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about.
You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.
TAPPER: The Ku Klux Klan?
TRUMP: But you may have groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of the groups, and I will let you know.
TAPPER: OK. I mean, I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but…
TRUMP: I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.
As we reported this week, though, Trump went through this same controversy, and similarly feigned ignorance of David Duke, six months ago.
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