Thursday, November 3, 2016
DAVID DUKE MISSED THE MEMO THAT TRUMP DOESN’T WANT HIS SUPPORT by Abigail Tracy ( Republished with permission of the Author and Vanity Fair in which the article first appeared )
The Republican nominee’s K.K.K. problem isn’t going away. Trump has been asked the question numerous times and still hasn't himself distanced himself from the K.K. K. endorsement.
Donald Trump may not want the support of David Duke, but unfortunately for him, the former Ku Klux Klan leader is giving it. As the Trump campaign battles criticism for its recent, tone-deaf attempts to court black voters and as Republicans desperately fight to maintain control of Congress in a number of key battleground states, the last thing they need is the unrelenting endorsement of the nation’s most prominent white nationalist. But they have it.Trump has and now that he has it is resisting any temptation to walk away from it.
On Sunday, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence condemned Duke’s effusive praise of Trump, after the former klansman said he was “overjoyed” to see the Republican nominee’s campaign “embrace most of the issues that I have championed for years.” In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union, Pence said Duke’s backing upset him, adding, “We don’t want the support of people who think like David Duke.” and yet again Pence is at olds with his running mate Trump. Trump himself has not yet distanced himself from this huge alt right rolls royce endorsement.
But the former K.K.K. grand wizard was apparently unperturbed by Pence’s disavowal. Instead of distancing himself from the Trump campaign, Duke lent his voice to robocalls that are going out to Louisiana voters, BuzzFeed News reported Monday, urging them to support both his senate bid and Trump for president in November. “Unless massive immigration is stopped now, we’ll be outnumbered and outvoted in our own nation. It’s happening,” Duke says in the robocalls. “Look at the Super Bowl salute to the black Panther cop killers. It’s time to stand up and vote for Donald Trump for president and vote for me, David Duke, for the U.S. Senate.”
The Trump campaign distanced itself from the recording. In a statement to Politico, a spokesperson said: “There is no place for this in the Republican Party or our country. We have knowledge of these calls and related activities, but strongly condemn and disavow.”. The statement however did not come from Trump's headquarters in Trump Towers rather from their little token office in California , A State Hillary Clinton leads by 27% . But Duke’s unsolicited plaudit for Trump comes at an inauspicious time for the campaign. In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has faced a deluge of criticism for its outreach to black voters. Trump’s frank pitch to African-American voters—“What the hell do you have to lose?”—was condemned for relying heavily on stereotypes of the African-American community. Over the weekend, the Republican standard bearer faced a fresh wave of backlash for his use of Dwyane Wade’s cousin’s death in a callous tweet to encourage votes in his favor.
The Trump campaign’s Duke headaches, however, date back well before it decided to ramp up its efforts to reach black voters. The presidential hopeful was slow to disavow the K.K.K. leader’s endorsement of his candidacy earlier this year and still hasn't done so conclusively. And while Trump did later say that he didn’t need Duke’s endorsement, but welcomed all endorsements, the damage was done. Since then, his campaign has struggled to distance itself from Duke and the white-supremacist movement—a battle it is not alone in fighting. The Republican Party of Louisiana is trying to prevent Duke from running as a member of the Party of Lincoln in the future, the Daily Beast reports. “David Duke is a convicted felon and a hate-filled fraud who does not embody the values of the Republican Party,” Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger F. Villere Jr., said in a statement. G.O.P. lawmakers in the state reportedly hope to change Louisiana’s bylaws to prevent convicted felons and individuals with links to hate groups from running for public office.
Duke’s fervent support for Trump, meanwhile, is a boon for Hillary Clinton, whose latest strategy involves linking her Republican opponent to the most hateful voices among his right-wing base. In a speech last week, Clinton excoriated the billionaire for hiring Stephen Bannon, a former Breitbart News executive, as his campaign C.E.O., and accused Trump of “reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.” That same day, the Democratic nominee also released a campaign ad rife with racially charged imagery and a man identified as a klansman explaining why he supports Trump. The Republican’s campaign reacted with outrage, but white nationalists who saw the speech were thrilled to get the recognition. Duke, despite being spurned, is apparently still a Trump supporter, too.