Trump spreads claim that Clinton’s ‘mentor’ was ‘KKK member’
Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back against Hillary Clinton’s efforts to link him to the Ku Klux Klan.
The Republican nominee retweeted a supporter’s post that the Democratic nominee “said a KKK member was her mentor.” And speaking later in Des Moines, Iowa, he dredged up Clinton’s use of the term “super predators” in the 1990s to argue that he, not Clinton, offered African-Americans the best choice for president.
Trump’s retweet and his latest appeals to black voters capped off a week of increasingly ugly and racially charged accusations between the two leading presidential candidates, during which Trump called Clinton a “bigot” and the Democratic nominee charged that Trump’s campaign was built on “prejudice and paranoia” while also tying him to the KKK.
“@DiamondandSilk: Crooked Hillary getting desperate. On TV bashing Trump. @CNN, she forgot how she said a KKK member was her mentor,” Trump tweeted Saturday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2016
Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — better known as Diamond and Silk, two African-American sisters supporting Trump who frequently speak at his rallies — confirmed to CNN that the tweet referred to the late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, a former KKK member whom Clinton mourned in 2010 as “a true American original, my friend and mentor.”
“Donald J. Trump can’t help who embraces his campaign but Hillary Clinton could’ve helped who she embraced,” the duo said in a statement to CNN.
A Trump spokesman, Jason Miller, declined to comment, and a message left with Clinton’s campaign was not returned.
Trump’s surrogates in recent days have pointed to Clinton’s relationship with Byrd in response to accusations that Trump’s campaign stokes racial tensions.
Thursday night, Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes also cited Byrd, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “(Clinton) sat there and praised Sen. Byrd saying that he was her mentor, that he should be respected and he was a leader of the KKK.”
And on Friday, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, speaking to CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “The Lead,” said Trump’s campaign was not engaging in Clinton’s “gutter politics.”
“You have heard no language to this level coming out of the Trump campaign,” McEnany said. “They could be digging into her past with Robert Byrd.”
Yes it is true that Senator Robert Byrd was a mentor to Hillary Clinton when she joined the senate. Yes it is true that Senator Byrd was a member of the KKK, but what Trump is deceitfully neglecting to mention is that Byrd was a member, as in, used to be a member, in his youth decades before meeting Clinton. By the time Hillarly Clinton joined the Senate, Robert Byrd had disavowed the Klan decades ago, explained it was wrong, and had such an exemplary civil rights voting record he was graded at 100% by the NAACP.
When Senator Byrd died in 2010, the NAACP released a statement praising Byrd, saying that he “became a champion for civil rights and liberties” and “came to consistently support the NAACP civil rights agenda”.
These are the facts, I’m sorry. Donald Trump and his surrogates did not tell the entire story.
It also glosses over the fact Donald Trump was endorsed by the actual KKK , he failed to condone former Grand Wizard David Duke’s endorsement, had multiple known white supremacists representing him at the Republican National Convention, and Trump’s own father was caught at a KKK rally.