Donald Trump is blaming a “bad earpiece” for pretending he’d never heard of vocal Trump supporter and former KKK grand wizard David Duke during an interview with CNN Sunday.
Trump was mid-interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper when Tapper asked him about the support he’s received from David Duke and “other white supremacists”
“Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?” Tapper asked.
Trump, who apparently heard at least some of the question, nevertheless declined to answer.
“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” said Trump. “So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”
He added, “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.”
When Tapper clarified he was asking specifically about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, Trump replied “I don’t know any. Honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”
Trump now blames his evasive response on a “lousy earpiece provided by [CNN.]”
In an interview today on the Today Show, Savannah Guthrie pressed Trump on the CNN interview, pointing out that Trump—who has talked about Duke in the press before—claimed at least three times not to know who Duke was.
“Well, I know who he is, but I never met David Duke, so when you talk about it, I never met David Duke,” Trump said, before claiming he thought Tapper’s question specifically concerning the KKK was actually about “various groups.”
“I was 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,” Trump said. “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. It would be very unfair to disavow a group, Matt, if the group shouldn’t be disavowed, I have to know who the groups are.”
Matt Lauer did not pose the question.
[There was a video here]