Donald Trump on Monday morning defended a Sunday interview on CNN during which he repeatedly avoided disavowing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Trump said that the CNN host asked about “other groups” and that he had a “lousy earpiece” for the interview.
Duke announced his support for Trump last week, which the real estate mogul disavowed at a Friday rally. But during a Sunday interview on CNN, Trump repeatedly said he didn’t know Duke. The Republican presidential candidate later said on social media that he disavows Duke’s endorsement.
On the “Today Show” Monday morning, Savannah Guthrie asked Trump why he wouldn’t disavow Duke during the CNN interview.
“Well, first of all, he talked about David Duke and other groups. He talked about other groups,” Trump responded, referring to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Guthrie then noted that Trump said on CNN that he didn’t “know anything about” David Duke.
“No, no,” Trump replied. “Well, I know who he is, but I never met David Duke. So when you talk about it, I never met David Duke.”
Guthrie then brought up that in 2000, Trump declined to run as a Reform Party candidate, citing David Duke’s involvement in the party.
“I disavowed David Duke a day before at a major press conference,” Trump told Guthrie. “And I’m saying to myself, ‘How many times do I have to continue to disavow people?’ And the question was asked about David Duke and various groups. And I don’t know who the groups are. I said, ‘Do me a favor and tell me the groups.’ He was unable to tell me them.”
However, Tapper told Trump he was “just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here,” as Guthrie noted.
Trump then brought up his terrible earpiece.
“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was various groups. And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke, and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference,” he said on the “Today Show.” “Now I go and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly he talked about groups, he also talked about groups. And I have no problem with disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are.”
Watch part of the interview via NBC:
“I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke.” Trump talks KKK controversy. https://t.co/8PRS2FoPWp
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 29, 2016