Having in the past denied that he knew former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke (they had met), Donald J. Trump on Thursday finally took the plunge and announced he “disavows” Duke’s anti-Semitic comments, made on the latter’s radio show.
Duke said that the Republican elites have been working to undermine Trump just as they worked against him, Duke, when he ran for governor of Louisiana as a Republican in 1991. He took issue with Trump’s former Republican rival Ted Cruz taking money from a “Jewish leftist commie,” saying Jewish financiers are “destroying the Republican Party” by targeting Trump and himself.
“Jewish chutzpah knows no bounds,” Duke told his listeners, and then focused on billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, a huge supporter of Israel who also supports the “Stop Trump” movement. Referring to Singer and his ilk, Duke said, “I think these Jewish extremists have made a terribly crazy miscalculation because all they’re really going to be doing by doing the ‘Never Trump’ movement is exposing their alien, their anti-American-majority position to all the Republicans. And they’re going to push people more into awareness that the neo-cons are the problem, that these Jewish supremacists who control our country are the real problem and the reason why America is not great.”
That was a bit much, and Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, challenged candidate Trump to take a stand against the Duke ideas. “David Duke’s latest remarks – smearing Jews and Jewish Republicans specifically – are as unsurprising as they are hateful,” the ADL chief said in a statement. “The onus is now on Donald Trump to make unequivocally clear he rejects those sentiments and that there is no room for Duke and anti-Semitism in his campaign and in society. Mr. Trump can and should speak up now. If not, his silence will speak volumes.”
In the past, Trump had been unwilling to confront Duke’s increasingly more outrageous and openly anti-Semitic comments, presumably so as not to lose the support of while males in the South. But eventually Trump released a statement saying he “totally disavows” Duke’s remarks.
“Anti-Semitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided,” Trump said, having himself made his share of divisive comments against Mexicans and Muslims.