By David Jackson
February 29, 2016
Donald Trump declined repeated invitations Sunday to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke — even though he did just that on Friday.
"I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?" Trump said on CNN's State of the Union. "I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know."
After the broadcast, amid a torrent of criticism, Trump tweeted out his answer to a similar question during a Friday news conference — he said then he didn't know about Duke's endorsement, but "I disavow, OK?"
This is somewhat in contrast to his stance in 2000, the year Trump declined a presidential bid for the Reform Party.
As Buzzfeed noted, Trump sent out a statement that year that “the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. (Pat) Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. (Lenora) Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.”
This year, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups have called on the Republican front-runner to condemn the support of Duke.
Trump on CNN Sunday: "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."
With Donald Trump looking strong in Super Tuesday polling, reports say some Republicans are turning toward the front-runner while others vow to fight. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Pressed by State of the Union host Jake Tapper, Trump said: "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."
On his radio program, Duke recently told his listeners that supporting someone other than Trump is "really treason to your heritage."
Trump's rivals blasted the GOP front-runner's refusal to distance himself from Duke on Sunday. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called Trump's responses "really sad," adding that the New York billionaire was "better than this."
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, addressing Trump's comments, said at a Virginia rally: "Not only is that wrong, it makes him unelectable. How are we going to grow our party with a nominee that refuses to condemn the Ku Klux Klan? Don't tell me he doesn't know who the Ku Klux Klan is."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted that "hate groups have no place in America."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's seeking the Democratic nomination, also slammed Trump on Tuesday, tweeting that the nation's "first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hatemonger who refuses to condemn the KKK."
Among those retweeting Sanders' tweet was his rival in the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton.
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