Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Trump Denounces David Duke Robocalls: Why Now?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Trump Denounces David Duke Robocalls: Why Now?

Article excerpt

Donald Trump's campaign denounced a robocall from US Senate candidate and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke on Monday, calling Mr. Duke's self-association with Mr. Trump "absolutely disgusting."

In the robocall, Duke urges listeners to "stand up and vote" for both himself and Donald Trump.

"I'll tell the truth that no other candidate will dare say," he says. "Unless massive immigration is stopped now, we'll be out- numbered and out-voted in our own nation. It's happening. We're losing our gun rights, our free speech. We're taxed to death. We're losing our jobs and businesses to unfair trade. We're losing our country. Look at the Super Bowl salute to the Black Panther cop killers."

Trump's spokespeople were quick to distance the Republican presidential nominee from Duke and his call, telling Politico that the Trump campaign has "no knowledge of these calls or any related activities" and "has continued to denounce David Duke and any group or individual associated with a message of hate."

But Trump has not always been so clear in his disavowal of Duke and other members of the alt-right movement. In February, after Duke, a radio host, told his audience that voting for any candidate other than Donald Trump "is really treason to your heritage," Trump refused to explicitly condemn the endorsement.

Instead, in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Trump responded that he didn't know anything about David Duke or the Ku Klux Klan, adding, "You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about." (While Trump may not have known anything about David Duke in 2016, he was familiar with him in 2000, when he said in a statement that Duke and other members of the Reform Party were "not company I wish to keep.")

Shortly after his vague comments, which were met with sharp criticism from both Democrats and Republicans alike, Trump officially denounced the endorsement, saying, "David Duke endorsed me? OK, alright. I disavow, OK?"

Since then, Duke has continued to link himself and his ideas to the Trump campaign. In July, when Duke announced his own campaign for US Senate, the former Klan leader said he was "overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues I've championed for years. …

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