A month later, Trump was embraced by former KKK grand wizard David Duke, which led to a controversial exchange between CNN’s Jake Tapper and the Republican candidate. Asked by Tapper to “unequivocally condemn” Duke, Trump pleaded ignorance.

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay?” Trump said.

Tapper pressed him several more times to disavow Duke and the KKK, but Trump again declined.

What Donald Trump has said about David Duke
Here's what Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said about white supremacist David Duke in several interviews in the past 15 years. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

“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.”

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That same month, Rachel Pendergraft — the national organizer for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan — told The Post that Trump’s campaign offered the organization a new outreach tool for recruiting new members and expanding their formerly dwindling ranks.

The Republican presidential candidate, Pendergraft told The Post, provided separatists with an easy way to start a conversation about issues that are important to the dying white supremacist movement.

[Trump booted a black man from his rally and called him a ‘thug.’ Turns out he is a supporter.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa1LYpFwvYw]

“One of the things that our organization really stresses with our membership is we want them to educate themselves on issues, but we also want them to be able to learn how to open up a conversation with other people,” Pendergraft said.

Using Trump as a conversation piece has been discussed on a private, members-only website and in “e-news, stuff that goes out to members.”

In addition to opening “a door to conversation,” she said, Trump’s surging candidacy has electrified some members of the movement.

“They like the overall momentum of his rallies and his campaign,” Pendergraft said. “They like that he’s not willing to back down. He says what he believes and he stands on that.”

In August, the American Nazi Party’s chairman, Rocky Suhayda, agreed, declaring on his radio show that Trump offers “real opportunity” to build the white nationalist movement.

More recently, Trump’s rallies have been marred by a series of racially charged incidents.

Last week, a black Trump supporter was booted from a North Carolina rally after he was mistaken for being a protester. Trump’s security detail escorted a man out of the rally as the audience cheered.

“You can get him out,” Trump said, making a sideways motion with his thumb. “Get him out.”

Black man removed from Trump rally turned out to be a supporter
Play Video1:45

A black man was booed out of a rally that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held in Kinston, N.C. on Oct. 28. The crowd started booing the man until Trump noticed him. Trump called the man a 'thug" and accused him of being a protester. The man turned out to be a Trump supporter. (Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

The person in question turned out to be C.J. Cary, a North Carolina resident, who claims to be a longtime Trump supporter.

Cary, in a phone interview Saturday with The Post, said he had gone to the rally because he wanted to hand-deliver a note to the Republican presidential nominee. He made his way to about 20 to 30 feet from the stage and shouted “Donald!” while waving his note around to try to catch his attention.

“Everyone else is waving Trump signs and I’m waving this white letter,” Cary, 63, said. He said that, coupled with the fact that he was wearing sunglasses during an evening rally to deal with his sensitivity to light, may have been what set people off.

Cary said a security official noticed he appeared to be a supporter but said he should not have disrupted the rally.

“He asked me, ‘What happened? You have on a GOP badge,’ " Cary said. “I said, ‘I’m yelling at Donald, and he thinks I’m a protester.’ ”

[Hear a white nationalist’s robocall urging Iowa voters to back Trump]

Days later, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, forcefully disavowed a supporter as “deplorable” for chanting “Jew-S-A!” at a weekend rally, the latest incident of anti-Semitic rhetoric used by some of the GOP nominee’s backers, according to Post reporters Jose A. DelReal and Sean Sullivan.

“[The man’s] conduct is completely unacceptable and does not reflect our campaign or our candidate. Wow,” Conway said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That man’s conduct was deplorable. And had I been there, I would have asked security to remove him immediately.”

The Saturday afternoon incident in Phoenix was captured on video that showed a man confronting reporters at the rally with shouts and a three-fingered hand gesture that resembled hate symbols flagged by the Anti-Defamation League.

“You’re going down! You’re the enemy!” the man yelled. As the rest of the crowd broke into a chant of “USA! USA!,” the man repeatedly chanted, “Jew-S-A! Jew-S-A!”