On Sunday, Donald Trump showed unusual compassion to a small group often ostracized from the political arena.
Given three opportunities to renounce the support of David Duke and other white nationalists who back the GOP frontrunner Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Trump played dumb – unconvincingly.
“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” he said. “So I don’t know. 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.”
He said he’d have to do more “research” on the former Ku Klux Klan leader and the other groups before rejecting them. For most politicians that research would involve asking yourself, “Does it involve the words KKK, David Duke or White Supremacists?”
So here’s a guy who blasts the Pope but is worried about offending people who both believe in and – simultaneously, by their own existence – disprove white supremacism.
Trump had said “I disavow” Duke’s support on Friday, using that exact bland legalese on Friday, and did so again in a tweet a few hours after that appearance. But you’d have to be a Trump supporter to not see what’s going on here.
A man whose entire political career was born from demanding a black guy’s papers, Trump continually retweets blatant white nationalists. And much of his campaign is based on the scapegoating of all foreigners and immigrants who haven’t complimented him in public.
No national politician since George Wallace — an actual segregationist — has done so much to encourage the support of smelly racists.
When Ronald Reagan was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, he said, “‘The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood.’”
And this is a guy who began his 1980 campaign in a county known for the murder of civil rights workers giving a speech in favor of “states rights,” which is conservative for “let white people figure it out.” That’s a hell of a lot better than “I disavow.”
But Klan members keep endorsing Republicans. Must just be a weird coincidence.