Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence may not want former KKK leader David Duke's support, but he doesn't want to be mean about it.
"There are some supporters of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, David Duke, for example, some other white nationalists, who would fit into that category of deplorables, right?" Blitzer asked.
Pence said Trump has denounced Duke repeatedly. "We don't want his support and we don't want the support of people who think like him," he said.
"So, you'd call him a deplorable?" Blitzer asked.
"I'm not in the name-calling business, Wolf. You know me better than that," Pence said.
Pence tried to keep the focus on Clinton's statement. He called her "basket of deplorables" comment shocking. "The millions of people who support Donald Trump around this country are not a basket of anything. They are Americans. And they deserve the respect of the Democrat nominee for president of the United States."
The Clinton campaign jumped all over Pence's refusal to insult the former KKK grand wizard, saying in a tweet that anyone who won't call out the KKK, "has no business running this country."
If you won’t say the KKK is deplorable, you have no business running the country. https://t.co/mFut8Qrz9A— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 12, 2016
“It’s good to see an individual like Pence and others start to reject this absolute controlled media,” David Duke told BuzzFeed. He also came to Pence's defense on Twitter, calling Clinton a hypocrite for her support of former West Virginia senator, and KKK member, Robert Byrd.
Clinton attacks Pense for NOT calling me "Deplorable" Yet, #HypocriteHillary supported ex-kKK Robert Byrd for Senate Leader! "Deplorable?"— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) September 13, 2016
Byrd was indeed a member of the KKK, and Duke has often attacked the media for a double standard in the way Bryd's KKK legacy is treated in contrast to his own. Byrd, however, apologized for his past. Duke has expressed no such contrition — in fact, he called Blizter "an agent" of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a tweet Monday night.
Duke's support first caused trouble for the Trump campaign back in February when Trump refused to disavow the support of the former KKK leader — he later blamed the incident on a faulty ear piece.
Pence repeated his denouncement of Duke on Fox News later Monday, and dismissed the criticism for his refusal to call Duke deplorable. "I get it, they wanted me to start using terms that Hillary uses. You’ve known me a long time, I’m not a name caller, I don’t play that game. But we have denounced David Duke repeatedly, we’ll continue to do that again.”
It is outrageous that some members of the media are taking quotes out of context! https://t.co/x379lHe86p— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) September 12, 2016
(© 2016 WWL)