This is a cycle we have become accustomed to: Donald Trump makes a hateful, ridiculous statement, receives some backlash and criticism, and then claims he was joking, misspoke, or changed his mind.
In this case, Trump said that the “very bad earpiece” CNN gave him was why he could not condemn David Duke or the KKK.
On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump whether he would definitely disavow the support from ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who endorsed Trump on Friday.
This was Trump’s pathetic response: “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…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.”
Trump obviously knows who David Duke is—in December 2015, Duke actually said Trump spoke “a lot more radically than I talk,” to which Trump retorted that Duke was “certainly…wrong.” Trump has mentioned Duke various other times, so the lie is transparent.
The more troubling aspect of the statement is how he nonchalantly claims he “[knows] nothing about white supremacists.”
Trump did disavow Duke later in the day when pressed, but in a segment on the Today Show, Savannah Guthrie questioned Trump’s reluctance to condemn one of the biggest hate groups. Trump’s response was comical: “I was sitting in a house in Florida 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’… I have no problem with disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are.”
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
Let’s look back at the quote given only a day earlier. Trump specifies David Duke and “white supremacists” so he knew exactly what he was talking about.
Trump’s racism is only becoming more apparent each and every day.