On Sunday, Donald Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he hadn’t done enough research on “white supremacists” to condemn them as a group.
“I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists,” Trump said of the former KKK Grand Wizard who endorsed him last week. “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.”
For 24 hours, the world wondered why Trump would need to “do research” before concluding that white supremacists were bad. Especially since Trump had just disavowed Duke’s support last Friday. This seemed to present two, equally damning possibilities: Either Trump’s once superlative memory has become severely impaired, or he has decided that condemning the KKK on national television would be bad for his political brand. But now, the Donald has revealed that the cause of the snafu was actually innocuous: He had simply been given a faulty earpiece.
“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece they gave me and you could hardly hear what he was saying,” Trump explained on Monday’s Today show.
You see, Trump merely misheard Tapper. Sure, the Donald did repeat the proper nouns in Tapper’s question — “David Duke,” “white supremacists” — verbatim, several times in the course of the interview. But that doesn’t mean he heard those words as words. The static in Trump’s earpiece must have reduced those phrases to a collection of vowel and consonant sounds that the mogul was capable of regurgitating phonetically, even as he was incapable of recognizing them as spoken English.
This news should come as relief to all Americans, regardless of their political commitments. For a moment there, it actually looked like the GOP front-runner might be trying to exploit racial resentment for political gain.