Donald Trump said he did not disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke because he had a “lousy earpiece.”
“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,” the Republican presidential frontrunner told NBC’s “The Today Show,” referring to an interview he gave to CNN on Sunday morning.
“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,” Trump said.
“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 added, making a reference to a question from CNN‘s Jake Tapper, who asked Trump about the Anti-Defamation League’s call for him to denounce groups who are endorsing his presidential run.
Trump continued: “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.”
Trump then made sure to disavow Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the KKK who is seen as a pernicious individual to be associated with due to his views on race.
“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 added. “So I disavowed David Duke all weekend long, on Facebook, on Twitter and obviously, it’s never enough. Ridiculous.”
In the interview, Trump told Tapper that he didn’t know Duke. In 2000, when Trump considered running for president, he declined to accept the support of the Reform Party, citing Duke’s involvement with the group.
According to polls, Trump appears to be the frontrunner heading into Super Tuesday, when 11 states will hold primaries and caucuses in a day.
He took shots at his rivals in the “Today” interview.
“He did it because he’s desperate,” Trump said of Marco Rubio. “He’s down in the polls. He’s a nervous wreck.”