The Corner

Politics & Policy

Donald Trump Fails Three Times to Deny the KKK

If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, he will shatter the Republican party, send GOP candidates and officeholders around the country scurrying for cover, and supercharge Democratic turnout among groups that are presently very dispirited and unenthused about Hillary Clinton. If we did not already know that, this morning’s State of the Union interview with Jake Tapper shows why:

Tapper asked Trump about former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s vocal endorsement of Trump, just the loudest example of the very vocal and visible tide of white supremacists (or “white nationalists” or the “alt-right” as they now call themselves) rallying to Trump’s side. Trump had been asked about renouncing Duke earlier in the week and gave a monosyllabic “yes” when asked to renounce them, but when actually pressed to expound on that, he told Tapper, “I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK, I know nothing about what you’re even talking about with white supremacists or white supremacy.” He repeated this three times.

Trump knows full well who Duke is, having cited him as a reason for leaving the Reform Party in 2000, but of course, consistency is never a Trump strong suit; you ask him the same question five times, you are liable to get five different answers. The broader problem is that whether or not Trump is consciously pandering to white supremacists, he lacks the consistent backbone to say so clearly, or even the rudimentary political skill to remember what he said earlier this week. That means it will be child’s play for the Democrats to use him to Krazy Glue every horrible they can imagine to the entire party. As bad as this interview looks if you think Trump is truly on board with the white supremacists, from a political perspective, it’s even worse if he’s not.

Dan McLaughlin is an attorney practicing securities and commercial litigation in New York City, and a contributing columnist at National Review Online.

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