Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump declined to condemn white supremacist David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. He had done so already in August, as reported by Politico, and had even done so on Friday, as reported by The Hill.
But CNN’s Jake Tapper thought it fair game to ask him again, and Trump, apparently caught off guard, dodged the question, claiming not to know who these people and groups are.
Opponents and critics immediately seized on Trump’s response as evidence that he actually supports the KKK and other white supremacists, or at least does not wish to risk losing their support.
This is exactly the same game the media play against Republicans every single election, regardless of the candidate. It’s called “Pin the racists on the Republicans,” and it will be used against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as readily as Trump.
The media showed no interest in Barack Obama’s active participation in Jeremiah Wright’s racist church, until it was too late–and then it praised his speech embracing Wright as some kind of Lincoln-esque oration that should be studied by schoolchildren. The media do not ask Hillary Clinton about whether she is prepared to denounce Al Sharpton, or to dissociate herself from crony Sidney Blumenthal over the antisemitic fulminations of his son, Max.
Arguably, Trump could have answered better: “I’ve already answered that, Jake, and of course I condemn those groups. I don’t want their support.” But he clearly knew he was being set up — with a quote from the liberal Anti-Defamation League — and therefore he was cagey.
Inevitably, as is the pattern with Trump, he will issue some clarification. His support will not fade, nor will his rivals relent.
But if they win — watch! — their turn is coming.
As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow. pic.twitter.com/OIXFKPUlz2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016