Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and struggling candidate for Senate David Duke has recorded a robocall encouraging Louisiana voters to support him and Donald Trump, BuzzFeed News reports, which the Trump campaign, defying all reasonable expectation, was quick to repudiate.
“Mr. Trump has continued to denounce David Duke and any group or individual associated with a message of hate,” the campaign said in a statement to POLITICO. “There is no place for this in the Republican Party or our country. We have no knowledge of these calls or any related activities, but strongly condemn and disavow.”
Trump was slow to denounce Duke’s initial endorsement earlier this year, apparently because of a “bad earpiece.” (He also claimed to “know nothing” about Duke, despite having specifically addressed him in a 2000 New York Times article.)
“Unless massive immigration is stopped now, we’ll be out numbered and outvoted in our own nation. It’s happening,” Duke says in the robocall. “We’re losing our gun rights, our free speech. We’re taxed to death. We’re losing our jobs and businesses to unfair trade. We’re losing our country. 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.”
Duke confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the call was from his campaign. “Everyone is saying they’re voting for Duke and Trump,” he told BuzzFeed. “A blind man told me he was voting for Duke and Trump. The response has been overwhelming.”
A recent Hillary Clinton campaign advertisement excerpts an interview, conducted in April, with the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in Richmond, Virginia. “I think Donald Trump would be best for the job,” the Imperial Wizard told NBC12. “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in. We want our country to be safe.” The Imperial Wizard also said that the KKK is no longer a violent organization and is not a hate group.
Asked on Monday afternoon about the call during an appearance on CNN, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said it was “absolutely distrubing.” She continued: “The Trump campaign has no knowledge of the campaign that David Duke is running and we have disavowed David Duke and don’t condone any of the activities he is doing.”
Trump has announced that he will make a speech directly addressing immigration, the signal issue of his campaign, in Arizona on Wednesday.