Trump won’t disavow support from KKK, David Duke – CNN
The Anti-Defamation League had called on Trump to repudiate the support of Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist groups.
Despite what he said Sunday, Trump apparently did know Duke in 2000 — citing him, as well as Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani — in a statement explaining why he had decided to end his brief flirtation with a Reform Party presidential campaign.
“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,” Trump said in a statement reported then by The New York Times.
He had also indicated he knew of Duke on Friday, when he was asked similar questions and said: “David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?”
Later Sunday, Trump highlighted that Friday comment in a tweet, saying he does disavow Duke.
During the interview, though, asked if he’d broadly distance himself from Duke and white supremacists, Trump demurred, saying he knew nothing about their support for his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
“I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about,” Trump said. “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 there was something wrong. You may have groups in there that are totally fine — it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.”
Tapper responded: “OK. I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but –“
And Trump said: “Honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I’ve ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”
Trump’s comments came two days before 12 states — largely Southern — vote on Super Tuesday. If he defeats Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in most or all of those states, Trump could become a near-lock for the Republican nomination.
One of Trump’s competitors, Ted Cruz, hit Trump on Twitter, saying, “Really sad. @realDonaldTrump you’re better than this. We should all agree, racism is wrong, KKK is abhorrent.”
And another Repubican presidential contender, John Kasich, tweeted a link to a news report about Trump’s comments, saying: “Hate groups have no place in America. We are stronger together. End of story.”
RNC communications director responded to criticism on Twitter leveled at the RNC over Trump’s comments, saying, “Are you kidding. Of course the @gop has and does denounce these hate groups/people.”
He detailed what he’d look for in a vice presidential nominee, saying he’d want someone with “a little bit of an inside track” to getting legislation approved by Congress — an indication Trump could pick a current politician.
“Conceptually, I like the idea of a political person to go along with my abilities,” he said.
Trump also said he has no plans to release his tax returns, despite pressure from Cruz and Rubio, because IRS audits are ongoing.
He said he has been audited “almost every year for 10 or 12 years.”
“Maybe it’s because I’m very conservative, maybe it’s because I’m tea party. … I don’t know what it is, but I have been singled out,” Trump said. “Until the audit is completed, obviously I’m not giving my papers.”
He did say, though, that his campaign is likely to release a list of his charitable contributions “sometime in the next week.”