For perhaps the first time in his presidential campaign, Donald Trump is on the defensive.
On Friday, the GOP frontrunner said during a press conference that he “disavows” the endorsement of David Duke—a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.
But when asked on CNN Sunday if he rejects Duke and White supremacist groups who support his campaign, Trump gave this odd response:
“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK. …I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. “So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”
However, CNN points to a New York Times article in 2000, in which Trump refers to Duke as “a Klansman.”
This gave Trump’s main rivals for the nomination an opening. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wasted no time calling out the billionaire.
Meanwhile, the former grand wizard is defending Trump. He told the Daily Beast:
“If he disavows me fine. Let him do whatever he thinks he needs to do to become president of the United States.”
Duke added that Trump likely knows of him through media reports, but probably doesn’t know his current political views.
Trump is certainly feeling the heat. After his CNN appearance, he tweeted a video of his statement on Friday and reiterated his disapproval of Duke’s endorsement.