Fox News pundit Juan Williams took issue with Trump’s repeated refusal on Sunday to disavow David Duke, a notorious former KKK member and white supremacist. Trump later “clarified” on Twitter that he does disavow Duke.
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“I don’t think you can excuse this kind of behavior where you just conveniently close your eyes,” Williams, who is African American, said. “In this moment, right before the SEC primary, he finds it convenient not to disavow.”
“It has particular power because so much of the anger that Donald Trump is talking about giving voice to is really anger in sort of a white populist movement,” Williams continued.
Before he even finished speaking, Williams was upbraided by his four white co-hosts.
“He disavowed him on Twitter!” Eric Bolling protested.
“Juan, you are not paying attention to the facts,” Kimberly Guilfoyle said.
The longest lecture came from Melissa Frances, who blamed the media for badgering Trump. “Now he’s been badgered repeatedly on the same front,” she said. “At the beginning of that interview we saw he said ‘I don’t support David Duke. No, no, no.’ And they kept asking him the question until they said something that can kind of be used.”
It’s unclear what interview Frances was referring to because he did not disavow Duke during the CNN interview at issue.
The idea that Trump had to be tricked into his comments about Duke and white nationalists is belied by his conduct throughout the campaign. On more than one occasion, Trump has retweeted “White Genocide” accounts on Twitter. He also retweeted fake, inaccurate and racist murder statistics from a neo-Nazi account.
Trump initially rose to political prominence by suggesting that Obama was born abroad — a claim that tapped into racial resentments and prejudices.