The Slatest

Republican Presidential Frontrunner Repeatedly Refuses to Condemn Ku Klux Klan

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on February 12, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump had three—three!—chances to say something negative about white supremacists during an interview on CNN on Sunday morning and he refused to do it, claiming he needed to do more research. CNN’s Jake Tapper gave the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination repeated opportunities to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan after the group’s former grand wizard David Duke expressed his support for the real estate mogul. But Trump refused to bite.

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump said on CNN. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know.”


When Tapper pressed the issue, Trump said he had “to look at the group.” Tapper kept insisting, seemingly amazed that he couldn’t even get the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination to say something negative about the KKK:


Trump: You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d 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 that there was something wrong.

Tapper: The Ku Klux Klan…

Trump: But you may have some groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of groups and I’ll let you know.

Tapper: I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here but…

Trump: I don’t know. Honestly I don’t know anything about David Duke.

Trump apparently had a change of heart from Friday to Sunday. On Friday, Trump was asked about the support he received from former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke and he didn’t hesitate. “I didn’t even know he endorsed me,” Trump said then. “David Duke he endorsed me, OK? I disavow. OK?”


It also seems strange Trump would say he doesn’t know David Duke when in 2000 Trump declined a presidential bid for the Reform Party in part because he didn’t want to be associated with “a Klansman, Mr. Duke.”