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Trump blames ‘very bad earpiece’ for refusal to disavow KKK or David Duke

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Donald Trump blamed an equipment malfunction for his failure to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and its former leader, David Duke.

The Republican presidential frontrunner appeared Monday morning on NBC’s “Today” to explain his comments made the day before, when he told CNN’s Jake Tapper he didn’t know enough about Duke or the KKK to comment about the white supremacist’s endorsement.

“Well, I have to look at the group,” Trump said. “I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them, and certainly I would disavow if I thought that there was something wrong.”

NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Trump to explain his comments, saying he had disavowed Duke’s endorsement Friday but then said it would be “very unfair” to do so without examining the former KKK grand wizard and his views.

“I know who he is, but I never met David Duke, so when you talk about it, I never met David Duke,” Trump said.

Guthrie reminded Trump that he refused to run for president on the Reform Party ticket in 2000 because Duke, who he dismissed as “a Klansman,” was involved.

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“The question was asked about David Duke and ‘various groups,’ and I don’t know who the groups are,” Trump said. “I said, would you do me a favor and tell me the groups? (Tapper) was unable to tell me that.”

Guthrie said Tapper’s questions referred specifically to Duke and the KKK, and Trump suggested he misheard the questions due to faulty equipment.

“Okay, let me tell you — 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,” Trump said. “What I heard was ‘various groups.’ And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke. And I disavowed him before at a major news conference.”

Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer that CNN had been at that news conference and would have heard him disavow Duke.

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“I have no problem disavowing groups but I’d at least like to know who they are,” Trump said. “It would (not) be very fair 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 said he had also disavowed Duke in a Facebook post.

“If you look at it, I disavowed David Duke all weekend long — on Facebook, on Twitter, but obviously it’s never enough,” he said.

He said news reports about GOP efforts to derail his candidacy appeared to violate the pledge party bosses made to keep him from running a third-party campaign, and Trump said his “millions of followers” could help him hurt the Republican establishment.

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“I could do something that would make them very unhappy,” Trump said.

Watch the interview posted online by Today:

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump campaign manager counting on Florida ‘Hispanic outreach’ as president trails in state poll

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In a deep dive into why Donald Trump is so focused on Florida as he begins his re-election campaign, Politico reports that polls show the president is behind in the must-win state and that his campaign manager believes he can salvage the state with multiple Hispanic outreach initiatives.

Noting that the president is kicking off his bid to hang onto the Oval Office in Orlando on Tuesday night, the report states that those close to Trump claim he has an obsession with the state.

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GOP pollster gets hilariously destroyed after blaming a broken elevator in his European hotel on ‘socialism’

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Republican pollster Frank Luntz drew hackles from across the internet on Tuesday after he blamed a broken elevator at a hotel in Austria on "socialism."

Writing on Twitter, Luntz complained that the elevator at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria has not been functioning for three straight days -- and said that the European social welfare state was responsible for this purportedly dire situation.

"Please don’t bring European-style socialism to America," Luntz pleaded.

I’m at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria. Almost 200 rooms… But the elevator has been broken for 3 days.

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Columnists bid a brutal farewell to ‘sneering’ Sarah Sanders: Her ‘awfulness was a thing to behold’

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On Tuesday, New York Times columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discussed the departure of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who they agreed was one of the worst press secretaries in modern times.

"She brought us back to the bad old days when women were supposed to be seen and not heard, but lately she wasn't seen all that much either," said Collins. "Who would want to go down in history as the press secretary who got rid of the press briefing?"

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