Donald Trump’s handlers did not take kindly to a reporter asking on Monday about the newly-launched U.S. Senate run by David Duke, the white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader who’s credited Trump with opening the door for his return to politics.
Asked by a New York Times reporter about Duke’s remarks that Trump did “as much as he could” to suggest in an interview that he would back Duke, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks warned the journalist not to “waste our time.”
“Again, Mr. Trump has disavowed David Duke and will continue to do so,” Hicks wrote in an email to the Times’ Maggie Haberman.
Hicks continued: “If you want to continue to waste our time with these questions, we will happily address them and allocate our resources for real stories pertaining to Mr. Trump’s candidacy for President of the United States and his message to the American people elsewhere.”
Later on Tuesday afternoon, Trump forcefully denounced Duke to the newspaper through a spokesman in an email to the Times.
“As we have many times in the past, we disavow David Duke. There’s no place for this in the Republican Party,” the spokesman said.
Yanking access from a reporter is far from unprecedented in the Trump campaign. Staffers have maintained a list of journalists and media outlets banned from attending events as credentialed members of the media for perceived unfairness to the GOP nominee.
After Duke threw his support behind Trump earlier this year, the billionaire was criticized for not immediately distancing himself from the white supremacist.
This story has been updated.