Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning, Donald Trump passed on a few opportunities, given by host Jake Tapper, to reject the support of white supremacists and recent endorser David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and arguably the most famous white supremacist in America. Asked whether he would “unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you do not want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election,” Trump, who is the well-documented hero of the white-supremacist internet, claimed ignorance:
Trump: Well just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay, I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. 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. So you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.
Tapper: But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say, unequivocally, that you condemn them and you don’t want their support?
Trump: Well, I have to look at the group. I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of groups, I will do research on them, and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. But you may have groups in there that are totally fine and that would be unfair, so give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.
Tapper: Okay, I mean I’m just talking about David Duke and Ku Klux Klan here, but …
Trump: I don’t know any … Honestly I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.
Except, of course, Trump did seem to know who David Duke was when he disavowed him last week:
(Update: Trump himself discovered the above video following his State of the Union appearance and tweeted it along with his re-disavowal of Duke.)
Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics.
“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” he said in his statement. “This is not company I wish to keep.”
Watch Sunday’s puzzling exchange below:
This post has been updated to include the evidence that Trump knows exactly who David Duke is.