As the media pundits expect Donald Trump to clean up on tonight’s Super Tuesday run, Trump’s recent response to the endorsement of David Duke is getting more headlines than his usual racist antics. Duke recently put forward a formal announcement, stating that if you care about your “race” then you are “required” to vote for Trump. Duke is one of the best known white nationalists in the world, formerly becoming state representative in Louisiana before running for Governor, and almost winning with 55% of the state’s white vote. Duke is one of the few open racists to see any electoral success into the 1990s, where he continued to support his past KKK and neo-Nazi affiliations, deny the Holocaust, argue for racial differences in intelligence, and run his organization, the National Association for the Advancement of White People.
Duke is only one on the long list of white nationalist endorsements. Recent, Jared Taylor of American Renaissance voiced a robocall in support of Trump in Iowa, which was funded by the nationalist American Freedom Party. The Radix Journal, The Right Stuff, Counter-Currents Publishing, Occidental Dissent, The Daily Stormer, and many more have jumped behind Trump, using his open nativist rhetoric as the mainstreaming of their own racism. Every one of these organizations have shared membership with various incarnations of the KKK, drawing them straight to Trump, yet Donald’s KKK connections move even beyond that.
After Duke’s endorsement, Trump was cornered on CNN and asked to denounce Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.
I don’t know anything about David Duke. I don’t know what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist. I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me, or what’s going on?
Trump later said that he had a “bad earpiece,” but in reality he was refusing to denounce a base that has thrown more resources than expected at him. While he may play ignorance, he actually knows exactly who David Duke is and where his politics come from.
In a 2000 report by ABC News, Donald Trump was interviewed about the Reform Party and its connections to the paleoconservative and racist right-wing.
As you know, the Reform Party has got some pretty big problems. Not the least of which is Pat Buchanan, David Duke, Fulani, and it’s a problem.
He then went on to bring up the same reference with the New York Times discussing the relationship between the Reform Party and the New York Independence Party.
Although I am totally comfortable with the people in the New York Independence Party, I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep.
It is difficult for Donald to now claim that he knows nothing about David Duke, and therefore will not condemn him as the Anti-Defamation League has requested. He was endorsed by Duke quite a while ago actually, and when he originally found out he smiled and joked “I even got endorsed by that KKK guy.”
Trump’s connections to the KKK actually go much deeper into his family tree, which is a politic that we have seen played out in his new public persona. Fred Trump, Donald’s millionaire father, has been well known for his work with the New York KKK. He was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens in 1927. The arrest was a part of a 1,000-person racial brawl that came after a rally intended to restore the “Native-born Protestant Americans” to New York City. This was in line with the deep anti-Catholic views of the New York KKK of the period, which also said the police were mainly made up of Roman Catholics. The flier that they were handing out for the event read:
Liberty and Democracy have been trampled upon,” the flier stated, “when native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.
The language of this flier seems awfully familiar given Trump’s recent rhetoric about Latino/a and Muslim Immigrants.
Fred Trump went on to “jumpstart” the campaign of arch-racist Barry Goldwater, where they also got backing from the John Birch Society. With influence from Roy Cohn, Goldwater went on to develop what was later called the “Southern Strategy,” which plays on Southern racism using “dog whistle” terms to signal to the base. Cohn went on to become Trump’s “mentor,” and helped him to countersue a group that was suing him for discrimination against African Americans in his business. Cohn eventually introduced him to Roger Stone, a man who has walked the line between the right-wing of the GOP and Libertarian Party and openly racialist, nativist, and white nationalist movements.
Since Donald’s recent misstep on CNN, he has been roundly denounced, even by the GOP establishment. Joe Scarborough has dropped him entirely with disgust, and Paul Ryan decided to speak up publicly in a press statement.
There has been a lot of talk in the last 24 hours about one of our presidential candidates and his seeming ambivalence about David Duke and the KKK, so let me make it perfectly clear. That is not the view of Republicans who have been elected to the United States Senate, and I condemn his views in the most forceful way….If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals. This is the party of Lincoln…his is fundamental. And if someone wants to be our nominee, they must understand this. I hope this is the last time I need to speak out on this race.
Neither of these men are the bastion of progressive values, so their disgust is a good sign of how far outside of any conventional discourse Donald Trump has become. With the recent violent stabbing of anti-fascist protesters in Anaheim by California by KKK members, few are willing to accept this tacit support for the KKK that Trump has given.
David Duke has gone to Twitter to continue to support Trump openly, decrying the “corporate media” for distorting his views and libeling Trump. Donald himself has recently given a speech that his presidency would further criminalize libel, a journalistic dishonesty that is already illegal. He may have trouble understanding that the reporting on him has actually been straight forward, yet he will not accept that he simply does not look good after ranting and raving on stage.
As votes are being cast today, we are about to learn a lot about what American whites are willing to accept to protect their last vestiges of privilege. Anti-racist author Tim Wise started his career with an organization fighting David Duke’s two political runs in Louisiana. After Duke got more than half of the white vote even though the media coverage clearly revealed his open racial politics, Wise said that he had to reckon with what was happening to whites. He labeled this turn “Dukism,” the ability for these whites to overlook his Nazism. Anti-fascist writer Alexander Reid Ross has given the current period Trumpism, and has a similar pattern to both David Duke and Pat Buchanan, two people that Trump had previously condemned. In periods of crisis and strife, working class whites are presented with a choice on how they will deal with the country’s future.
Hopefully, this is not the choice they will make.