Under Pressure On The Today Show, Donald Trump Blames "Lousy Ear Piece" For His Initial Refusal To Disavow Former KKK Leader
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From the February 29 edition of NBC's Today Show:
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SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's talk about another issue that has bubbled up, and this is your comments on a CNN program where you were asked about David Duke, former grand wizard of the KKK. You said three times in this interview, "I don't know who David Duke is," and you refused to disavow or distance yourself from him. Now, a lot of people are scratching their heads over that because, number one, you disavowed David Duke two days prior. Why are you pretending that -- or acting as though you don't know who this person is? Why not disavow David Duke, disavow the KKK? What's going on?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, first of all, he talked about David Duke, and other groups. He talked about other groups--
GUTHRIE: You said three times, "I don't know who David Duke is."
TRUMP: Excuse me -- no, no. Well, I know who he is, but I never met David Duke. So when you talk about it, I never met David Duke--
GUTHRIE: But in 2000, you refused to run on the Reform Party platform because David Duke was a member of it--
TRUMP: I disavowed David Duke a day before at a major press conference, and I'm saying to myself, how many times do I have to continue to disavow people? And the question was asked about David Duke and various groups. And I don't know who the groups are. I said, would you do me a favor and tell me the groups? He was unable to tell me that.
GUTHRIE: He says "I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here." You said, "honestly, I don't know David Duke."
TRUMP: Ok, so let me tell you. I'm sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad ear piece that they gave me and you can 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. Now I go and I sit down again. I have a lousy ear piece 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. But I disavowed David Duke. Now, if you look on Facebook right after that, I also disavowed David Duke. When we looked at it -- looked at the question, I disavowed David Duke. So, I disavowed David Duke all weekend long on Facebook, on Twitter and, obviously it's never enough. Ridiculous.