Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has received support from a not entirely unexpected source.
Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke has defended Trump's seemingly anti-Semitic tweets last week that sought to slam opponent Hillary Clinton as the "most corrupt candidate ever!"
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) July 3, 2016
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On Saturday, Trump tweeted an image of Clinton alongside hundred-dollar bills and a hexagram Star of Davidwith the words "most corrupt candidate ever!"
The tweet prompted swift outrage online, alleging Trump was anti-Semitic for his use of the Jewish symbol. Two hours later, Trump tweeted a similar image, but replaced the Star of David — which appears on Israel's flag and which Nazis forced Jews to wear on their clothing during the Holocaust—with a circle. The original tweet was deleted.
Later that evening, Duke tweeted both images side by side, with the message, "Seems something changed? That's ok, we welcome the hidden hand exposing itself."
This isn't Duke's first interaction with Trump. In fact, Trump and Duke have been flying on each other's radars since the 1990s.
In 1991,Duke lost a race for governor of Louisiana. Trump shortly thereafter appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live," where Larry King asked the businessman for his thoughts.
"Did the David Duke thing bother you? Fifty-five percent of the whites in Louisiana voted for him," King said.
"I hate seeing what it represents, but I guess it just shows there’s a lot of hostility in this country. There’s a tremendous amount of hostility in the United States," Trump replied.
In 2000, Trump said he wouldn't accept a presidential nomination by the Reform Party, whose members included Duke. "This is not company I wish to keep,"Trump said in a statement.
Last August, Duke said in a radio program that, while untrustworthy, Trump is the "best of the lot" among candidates,BuzzFeedreported.
When approached about Duke's quasi-endorsement, Trump told Bloomberg News: "I don't need his endorsement, I certainly wouldn't want his endorsement, I don't need anybody's endorsement."
On his popularity among white supremacist groups: "Alot of people like me."
Asked if he would disavow an endorsement from Duke, he replied: "Sure.I would do that if it would make you feel better.I don't know anything about him."
But in February, Duke backpedaled on his words of support the year prior.
"I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact I haven’t formally endorsed him,"Duke said on his radio show. "But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do."
The next day, Trump was asked about Duke's comments.
"I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?" Trump said at anews conference.
On Tuesday, Duke co-opted Trump's tweet to push his own agenda, saying Trump's message that Clinton is the "most corupt candidate ever" is "absolutely true," adding that her top donors are "all Zio-Tribalists."
Hillery pocketed $600 K from Goldman Sachs for 3 hours of speeches. InsideGov.says top 7 donors are Zio-money Moguls pic.twitter.com/MVUhd4BdVu— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) July 5, 2016