Trump blames refusal to disavow Duke KKK support on “lousy earpiece”
As the outcry increases over his refusal three times on CNN to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and white supremacists, showman Donald Trump is finessing his evasive answer that has been blasted by members of both parties — and is now blaming it on a “lousy earpiece.”
Some blunt realities:
1. Reality 1: Based on his own response on Sunday and in the past, Donald Trump knows full well who David Duke is, what the KKK is and what white supremacists are. Super Tuesday is coming up, he’s way ahead in big southern state and above all he doesn’t want to lose any votes — including the racists he has courted with dog whistles or even just whistles. This is part of his coalition to win the nomination and the election.
2. Reality 2: Many Republicans will wind up voting for Trump because of lockstep partisanship and the argument that Trump (who wants to build a wall, deport millions of immigrants here illegally, and ban Muslims from entering the United States) can’t be worse than Hillary Clinton. You can see that happening already even though some GOPers are now saying no way they will support or vote for Trump. Up and coming conservative Sen. Ben Sasses of Nebraska wrote this open letter to Trump supporters saying he understands where they’re coming from but in no way would he vote for Trump — or Clinton.
3. Trump won’t definitively repudiate the support and ideas of white supremacists as forcefully as he has gone after his primary foes because it is part of his branding to be non-PC. He has to keep it down a few notches no matter what since he wants those votes.
4. Trump is going to win the nomination. I’ve avoided making any blanket statement but this is it. Barring some political stunner, he will be the party’s 2016 nominee and if the RNC thinks they will dictate to him, see the link above about the company I’m selling.
5.Trump victory will indeed rebrand the Republican party.
6. Trump can indeed win. Forget all that the pundits are saying because they have been wrong. Obama’s master strategist David Plouffe has warned Democrats not to underestimate Trump. If there is indeed a realignment going on (another sign is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders strong challenge to Clinton) the old rules may not apply, old assumptions of pundits may be like trying to hear AM on and FM radio, and new assumptions will be put in place after the election. I have also noted that throughout political history some Democrats decide they’ll teach their party a lesson and not vote for it, then wake up to see Republicans using the power they won by elections to appoint judges, slash budgets, gerrymander, and then spend years howling about the mean old Republicans using the power they helped gift them by not voting. (My favorite comment by a Democrat was on another site where he said if Sanders is not nominated his party deserves to lose control of the Congress, White House and Senate. What was that common Democratic talking point about being dismayed how some REPUBLICANS will vote against their own interests and values?
GO HERE to read the background about his comments on Duke yesterday.
Donald Trump today blamed CNN for providing a “lousy earpiece” in explaining his non-answer to the network on Sunday when asked to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke.
“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, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke,” the Republican presidential frontrunner explained on NBC’s “Today.”
“Now, I go, and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly, he talked about groups,” Trump said, referring to the question from CNN’s Jake Tapper, who asked him about a call from the Anti-Defamation League to denounce the groups endorsing his presidential run. “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. But I disavowed David Duke.”
A day before the Super Tuesday primaries, Trump made sure to repeat the fact that he had disavowed Duke.
“Now, if you look on Facebook, right after that, I also disavowed David Duke. When we looked at it, and looked at the question, I disavowed David Duke,” he said. “So I disavowed David Duke all weekend long, on Facebook, on Twitter and obviously, it’s never enough. Ridiculous.”
Already some Republican writers and partisans on twitter are saying, why, yes, that was it, it was the earpiece! He never heard the question correctly about David Duke or white supremacists.
Here’s the segment so you can make your own decision on whether it was CNN’s crappy earpiece that was to blame, or Trump afraid to lose votes by coming out against bigots:
Meanwhile, as the Republican Party’s implosion against the person who is quite likely to shortly complete a hostile takeover goes full blast, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — who has come under intense attack by some writers, Democrats and even some Republicans for seemingly being to Trump what Fox New’s Sean Hannity is to most Republicans (a p.r. man who throws mostly softball questions at them but who clearly is trying to promote them), and whose reputation was tarnished by audio suggesting his show was negotiating with Trump over hard questions to ask — has blasted Trump on the Duke issue:
Donald Trump’s failure to explicitly disavow the Ku Klux Klan and former Grand Wizard David Duke is “disqualifying,” Joe Scarborough declared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday.
“It’s breathtaking. That is disqualifying right there. To say you don’t know about the Ku Klux Klan? You don’t know about David Duke?” the co-host said during the opening segment of the show after remarking upon Trump’s feigned ignorance of the group and Duke during an interview with CNN on Sunday, two days after he explicitly disavowed the group in a news conference.
The “most stunning thing” about the latest development, said Scarborough, a southerner himself, is that the latest maneuver “isn’t buying him a single vote.”
“I mean is he really so stupid that he thinks Southerners aren’t offended by the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke? Is he really so ignorant of Southern voters that he thinks this is the way to their heart — to go neutral, to play Switzerland when you’re talking about the Klan?” Scarborough asked. “And to say he doesn’t know enough information about the Klan to condemn them — exactly what does Donald Trump expect to learn in the next 24 hours about the Klan.”
Scarborough published an op-ed in The Washington Post to that effect on Monday morning, asking whether “this how the party of Abraham Lincoln dies?” Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski, who have been accused of cozying up to Trump, were adamant in their disgust for the candidate throughout the first hour of the show.
Despite his refusal to disavow the KKK and David Duke on Sunday, Scarborough predicted that it would have no effect on Trump’s finish in tomorrow’s primaries, many of which are in former Confederate states.
I agree with Scarborough. And like Humpty Dumpty, all of the Republican Party’s establishment attack dogs and all of the Republican Party establishment backed Presidential candidates’ men will not put the former image of the GOP back together again. It’ll be the Trump Party, the GONP (Grand Old Nationalist Party). Once he’s nominated or even sooner, many GOP establishment types will get behind him and complete the Republican Party shedding its image of “the party of Lincoln.”
In Response to Donald Trump’s Comments, ADL Will Provide Information on Hate Groups to All Presidential Candidates
New York, NY, February 28, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is providing information on extremists and hate groups to all of the presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, who earlier today in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper indicated he did not know anything about notorious former Klansman and racist hatemonger David Duke. Last week, Duke endorsed Trump’s candidacy for president.
“David Duke is a notorious anti-Semite and racist and his name is synonymous with bigotry,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO. “Duke is a perennial candidate for elected office and perhaps America’s best known racist and anti-Semite. He is a former Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. His message is racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American to its very core, and he’s clearly exploiting Mr. Trump’s candidacy to get publicity for himself and his hateful ideas.”
In response to Mr. Trump’s remarks, ADL’s Center on Extremism, which monitors and exposes extremists and hate groups, is providing for the public at large, including the Trump campaign, information about extremists so that all candidates can be fully aware of these individuals and have a more complete picture when determining whose endorsements they should accept or reject.
“The last thing we want is for white supremacists to use this campaign to mainstream their bigotry,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “It is imperative for elected leaders and political candidates like Mr. Trump and others in the public eye to disavow haters such as Duke and the other white supremacists who have endorsed his candidacy. By not disavowing their racism and hatred, Trump gives them and their views a degree of legitimacy. Even if it is unintentional on his part, he allows them to feel that they are reaching mainstream America with their message of intolerance.”
ADL’s Center on Extremism has long followed David Duke’s activities. The center has produced several online backgrounders about him and various white supremacist organizations he’s led over the years. These items are available for the public.
A 501(c) 3 organization, ADL does not support or oppose political candidates for office.
And now we have Donald Trump who might carry enough states tomorrow to make his nomination not a certainty, but highly probable. For too long the front-runner has behaved as if he is down and out. If it isn’t broken, why fix it? But at some point he needs to get briefed and show some growth. The answer yesterday on the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke — his inability to disavow in a mini-second, showed not that he is a bigot or insensitive or even a bad listener, or tired. It’s quite simple — his staff clearly does not prepare a list of obvious questions with quick automatic answers. Whatever the explanation (see below), this is a bad scene.
Yet, with his recent Mussolini quote and his raucous treatment of hecklers, Trump’s seemingly inexplicable and what appeared to be a double-down response on the KKK/Duke question raised the most troubling questions among his doubters.
Consider the context — for absolutely no reason, Trump recently has raised the specter of repressive defamation and libel laws that would undo a half century of jurisprudence following the 1964 N.Y. Times vs. Sullivan ruling that allowed free speech to flourish, as it required malice to sustain a defamation suit, the reckless disregard for the truth. There was no reason for Trump even to get into this issue; it may be raw meat for the crowds that don’t like the media, but even if you could change the law, the beneficiary would be the very politicians that Trump says he is challenging.
This is yet another reason why Trump needs someone with the presence and judgment to guide him. Like many public figures, he probably resents what can be said about him, but that’s what America is also about. We are not England, where the law is different, or other countries that jail dissenters. And the reality is that in our three branches of government, there is no conceivable way the First Amendment will be turned on its face.
One can say there are problems with some police officers in America, and how they approach and arrest young black men. But that does not mean endorsing a war against cops, or the Black Lives Matter movement. Here, there is nuance. Yet, when it comes to the KKK, immediate condemnation is, and should be, an automatic, throwaway line. It’s the only moral thing to do. This is not a matter of political correctness. Obviously, it’s done in such a quick, dismissive manner that it’s not a headline,as if “Trump denies beating wife” “Trump repudiates KKK support. It’s done in an affirmation: “Of course, I hold David Duke and the KKK in contempt and would never want their support.”
We are so close to Super Tuesday that Trump’s egregious statements may not have dramatic impact. We don’t know. But he is engaging in self-destructive actions, some of which raise moral questions. There is a vast number of angry voters, but very few are sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke. When the Anti-Defamation League asked Trump to reject this support, the ADL was handing him softballs to hit out of the park.