KKK paper the 'Crusader' endorses Donald Trump for president

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The official newspaper of the country's oldest and most infamous hate group, the Ku Klux Klan, has issued a de facto endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The Crusader, which is published by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, devoted the entire front page of its current issue to a "lengthy defense of Trump's message" under the banner "Make America Great Again," theWashington Post reported.

"'Make America Great Again!' It is the slogan that has been repeatedly used by Donald Trump in his campaign for the presidency," wrote the KKK's head and Christian Identity pastor Thomas Robb. "You can see it on the shirts, buttons, posters and ball caps such as the one being worn here by Trump speaking at a recent rally ... But can it happen? Can America really be great again? This is what we will soon find out!

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"While Trump wants to make America great again, we have to ask ourselves, 'What made America great in the first place?' The short answer to that is simple. America was great not because of what our forefathers did — but because of who our forefathers were. America was founded as a White Christian Republic. And as a White Christian Republic it became great."

Robb told the Post the op-ed was not a formal endorsement, since there were parts of Trump's platform he disagreed with, but Trump nonetheless captured the zeitgeist of "a surge of nationalism worldwide as nationals reclaim their borders."

Trump formally denounced the endorsement Tuesday, calling the Crusader "repulsive."

In the late 1900s, the Klan split into numerous lesser organizations, of which the KKKK is one. An article in theWashington Post in February noted that while the KKK historically issued endorsements for the presidency and other offices, that practice faded as the national prominence of the Klan diminished.

But with Trump's campaign, replete with thinly veiled racial rhetoric, offensive statements about minorities and women and several incidents in which he tweeted out white nationalist propaganda, times have changed.

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IRWIN, PA - OCTOBER 13; A giant Trump campaign sign greets commuters driving along Route 30 in the conservative Pittsburg, Pennsylvania suburb of Irwin on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
IRWIN, PA - OCTOBER 13; A giant Trump campaign sign greets commuters driving along Route 30 in the conservative Pittsburg, Pennsylvania suburb of Irwin on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: A digital billboard supporting Donald Trump depicts him as 'Super Trump' in Times Square, September 15, 2016 in New York City. The billboard was paid for by a pro-Trump political action committee (Super PAC) called 'Committee to Restore America's Greatness.' The billboard will run in Times Square through the end of the week before moving on to I-4 highway corridor in Florida. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 28: Kraig Moss, a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, talks over a CB radio to advertise a 'Truckers for Trump' convoy on January 28, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Democratic and Republican Iowa Caucuses, the first step in nominating a presidential candidate from each party, will take place on February 1. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - DECEMBER 10: A pro-Donald Trump billboard is parked outside the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel where Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is due to speak at the New England Police Benevolent Association Meeting December 10, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Trump recently called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States until the vetting process could be improved. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
A yellow flag with the words 'Don't Tread on Trump' and two leather belts given by Trump supporters, sit on the wall inside Donald Trump's 2016 Republican presidential campaign headquarters, located in Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. The billionaire front-runner for the Republican nomination continues his momentum this fall by preparing media ads and holding public appearance throughout the country. Photographer: Ali Elkin/Bloomberg via Getty Images EDITORS NOTE: BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE.
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Far-right extremists have been vocal in their support for Trump, with white nationalist organizations like the American Freedom Party and National Policy Institute endorsing Trump's message. In August, American Nazi Party leader Rocky Suhayda called Trump a "real opportunity" for U.S. fascists to put their ideals into action.

In a series of interviews with Mic, Robb said Trump's message is "tapping into [the] voice" for the anger of white supremacists, adding "I've never been more encouraged in the last 50 years than I've been in the past year and a half. ... I don't like to use the word radicalize, but I believe that Trump will advance the narrative."

Notably, the Crusader shares its name with another far-right entity recently in the news: a white nationalist group busted by the FBI in October for planning to blow up a mosque and apartment building inhabited in part by Somali refugees.

Trump has at times offered a mixed message on his support from the racist far right. When asked to disavow the KKK or its onetime leader David Duke in February, he pretended to know nothing about either and only later denounced him.

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