Donald Trump on Monday addressed the controversy swirling around a recent CNN interview where he appeared to be unable to immediately disavow former Klansman David Duke and the KKK.
Calling in for a phone interview on the “Today” show, Trump was asked, “Why are you pretending or acting as though you don’t know who this person is? Why not David Duke…disavow the KKK? What’s going on?”
Trump’s initial response claimed CNN’s Jake Tapper talked about “other groups.” Adding, “He talked about David Duke and other groups, he talk about other groups,” the candidate told Guthrie.
Guthrie challenged Trump again, “You said three times, ‘I don’t know who David Duke is.'”
“No, no,” said Trump, adding “I know who he is, but I never met David Duke.”
Trump reiterated he had disavowed David Duke the day before at a press event, telling Guthrie “I’m saying to myself, ‘how many times do I have to continue to disavow people?'”
Challenging Trump’s claim that he asked CNN’s Jake Tapper to identify the “other groups,” Guthrie quoted Jake Tapper, “I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here,” reading the CNN host’s words to Trump.
At this point, Trump changed direction, blaming his answer on a problem hearing the question correctly, due to the earpiece provided to him by CNN.
“I’m sitting in a house in Florida, with the very bad earpiece they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he (Tapper) was saying,” explained Trump. “But what I heard was ‘various groups’ and I don’t mind disavowing anybody…and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference,” Trump added.
Trump went on to repeat his disavowing of David Duke several times, adding that he has also done so on Facebook and Twitter.
The candidate punctuated his remarks on the topic, saying, “Obviously, it’s never enough, it’s ridiculous.”
The discussion of David Duke and the KKK starts at the 2:00 mark of the video:
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