Why Did Donald Trump Lie About KKK Leader David Duke?

It was pretty incredible to watch Donald Trump on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. Host Jake Tapper repeatedly offered the business mogul the chance to disavow both David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, and Trump refused to do so. Why?

In a press conference Friday, a reporter asked Trump:

“How do you feel about the recent endorsement from David Duke?”

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Trump replied:

“I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? Alright. Okay. I disavow. Okay?”

But during his exchange with Tapper just two days later, Trump acted as if he didn’t know who David Duke was, and repeatedly refused to disavow him:

TAPPER: “I want to ask you about the Anti-Defamation League, which this week called on you to publicly condemn former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be ‘treason to your heritage.’ Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke, and say that you don’t want his vote, or that of other white supremacists this election?”


TRUMP: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy, or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know. 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’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to talking about people that I know nothing about.”

Tapper tried to clarify:

“But, I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say, unequivocally, you condemn them, and you don’t want their support?”

Trump again played coy, which led to the following awkward exchange:

TRUMP: “Well I have to look at the group. I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I would do research on them, and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong…”


TAPPER: “Ok, I mean I’m just talking about David Duke, and the Ku Klux Klan here, but [long pause].”


TRUMP: “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. I just don’t know anything about him.”

This is all very interesting for multiple reasons. First, Trump “disavowed” the David Duke endorsement when asked about it Friday, then claimed he didn’t know who Duke was just two days later. Is this dementia, or the ramblings of someone who can’t remember what he said from one moment to the next because he’s making it up on the fly?

Either Trump knows who David Duke is, or he doesn’t. Either he disavows him, or he doesn’t. There’s no other option in this case. This isn’t Schrodinger’s white supremacist.

Side note–Tapper’s reaction to Trump’s nonsense in classic:

The second reason this is so interesting is that Trump does know who David Duke is. Aside from the fact that Duke is possibly the most well-known white supremacist alive today, when Trump backed out of his 2000 presidential run with the Reform Party, he said in a statement:

“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.”

He also told Matt Lauer on February 14, 2000:

“Well, you’ve got David Duke just joined–a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party.”

After the “State of the Union” interview, [score]Ted Cruz[/score] called Trump out on Twitter:

Trump quickly tweeted the video from the Friday press conference:

This is the problem with Trump–one of many. He simply says things that aren’t true. It’s happened many times. During the last debate, Trump lied multiple times, as I documented here. He lied about Cruz leaving Nevada, he lied about Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito agreeing with his sister on partial-birth abortion, and he lied about his support for the Libyan intervention.

Here’s a side-by-side video on his Libya lie:

This is his savvy. Trump has to know there are recordings, whether written or on video, of him saying the things he says. But he knows his followers won’t look for them. For example, with the Libyan intervention, he flatly lied during the debate, saying he’d never even spoken on the issue. Then lo and behold, a video blog from 2011 surfaces of Trump strongly advocating for the Libyan intervention.

I don’t believe it’s unintentional. I believe Trump knows he can say and do whatever he wants, and the ghosts from his past will go unnoticed. This is why he keeps pushing forward at such high speed. He’s like a runaway train; we’re all so busy trying to catch up with him that everything else gets lost in the scramble.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday; eleven states will make their voices heard. We have one day left to get our Trump-supporting friends and relatives to see the light. Show them this article. Show them his lies about Libya. Show them the videos. Show them the real Donald Trump–an opportunistic, lying scumbag.

The clock is almost at midnight.

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