Donald Trump created yet another controversy surrounding his candidacy on February 28, when he refused to say that he disavowed the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader and white nationalist David Duke. Trump told CNN host Jake Tapper that he wasn’t sure what “white supremacists” are, and that he would need to look at the white nationalist groups that have endorsed him before he condemned them. His reasoning? Some of those groups might be “totally fine.”
On February 29 CNN brought on Trump apologist Jeffery Lord to explain why Trump didn’t immediately reject Duke’s endorsement. The explanation for Trump’s behavior that Lord offers to “New Day” host John Berman is nothing short of bizarre.
After the controversy erupted on Sunday morning, Trump tweeted that he had disavowed Duke’s endorsement at his press conference on Friday, and he attached a video clip to the tweet to prove it. When he was asked about Duke at that press conference he responded to the reporter’s question by saying he didn’t know that Duke had endorsed him. He followed that with, “I disavow, ok?”
Trump is blaming his failure to disavow Duke’s support during his CNN appearance on a faulty earpiece. Trump told NBC’s Today Show,
I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me. And you can hardly hear what he was saying.
Kind of strange, since during the conversation Trump clearly heard the words “David Duke” and “white supremacists,” because he said that he didn’t know Duke, and that he didn’t know what white supremacists are. This would have been a non-controversy if Trump had merely pointed out that he had already disavowed Duke’s support. But he didn’t do anything of the sort.
Lord defends Trump by insisting that Trump had denounced Duke (at least as far as an “I disavow, ok?” goes). He then suggests that the whole idea of Duke supporting Trump is ridiculous, because “David Duke is a hardcore leftist. He’s an anti-Semite.”
It’s not quite clear what Lord is trying to accomplish, other than attempting to tie Duke and the Klan in with the left. He goes on to point out that Trump’s daughter and her husband are Jewish, so why would Trump want the support of an anti-Semite? That may be the only valid point that Lord makes. But he never addresses why he thinks that a group he calls “a racist hate group from the left” would support the guy who keeps saying that he is the most conservative candidate in the GOP.
Berman’s other guest, Margaret Hoover, points out that William F. Buckley, rejected the hate of the John Birch Society when they wanted to join Buckley’s budding conservative movement. She wants to know why Trump won’t do the same thing with the Klan. Lord comes back to his one talking point in response: “the Ku Klux Klan is a leftist group.”
Like many Republicans in recent years, Lord tries to claim that the Klan is connected to the Democratic party because they once supported racist southern Democrats. But that’s like saying that the 2016 New York Mets will win the World Series, because the 1969 Mets won it. Lord and his GOP colleagues stop history at about 1964, and choose to ignore that because of the Civil Rights Act, most of the racists left the Democratic party, and are now Republicans.
If you still weren’t convinced that Trump supporters don’t live in the real world, listening to the ranting of Jeffery Lord should leave you with no doubt.
Here’s the video, via Media Matters: