News & Politics

Trump Refuses to Disavow David Duke, Claims He Doesn't Know Anything About Him: Interview From 2000 Proves Otherwise

The GOP candidate probably has some explaining to do.

Photo Credit: CNN/YouTube

Donald Trump refused to disavow the support of former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke on CNN Sunday morning. Jake Tapper asked the candidate about the support he has received from white supremacists like Duke.

“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” responded Trump. “I don’t know anything about what you are even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I mean, did he endorse me or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke, I know nothing about white supremacists. And so, you are asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”

When Tapper followed up, asking if he would condemn racist supporters, Trump refused. “Well, I have to look at the group,” said Trump, “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’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. You may have some groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair,” Trump continued. “So, give me a list of groups and I’ll let you know.”

“Okay, I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here but....” Tapper clarified.

“Honestly, I don’t know David Duke,” said Trump. “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.”

There's a major problem with Trump's declaration. As many on Twitter have pointed out, Trump gave an interview in 2000 in which he condemned the Reform Party for its association with Duke. "Well, you've got David Duke just joined—a bigot, a racist, a problem," Trump told Matt Lauer. "I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party."

Read the transcript  of Trump's 2000 interview with Lauer and watch his interview with Tapper below.

UPDATE: Since this piece was published, Trump has tweeted a video of himself disavowing Duke's endorsement after a reporter asks him about it. This video is from Friday which makes his comments to Tapper seem even stranger.

Michael Arria is an associate editor at AlterNet and AlterNet's labor editorFollow @MichaelArria on Twitter.

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