Donald Trump blames 'very bad earpiece' for interview in which he did not denounce KKK leader

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Donald Trump on Monday blamed a "very bad earpiece" for a CNN interview the day before in which he refused to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Trump, the Republican presidential frontrunner, three times Sunday if he would denounce the support of David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard.

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In a Monday-morning interview with the "Today" show, Trump suggested he couldn't properly hear the question.

"He talked about David Duke and other groups," Trump said. "He talked about other groups, OK?"

"Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie pressed Trump, pointing out that he said three times in the CNN interview that he didn't know who Duke was. (He actually said that he didn't "know anything about" Duke and that he had never met him.)

"I know who he is, but I never met David Duke," Trump said. "So when you talk about it, I never met David Duke."

See Donald Trump with his supporters at a recent rally:


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Donald Trump's Iowa Rally at the same time as GOP debate
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Donald Trump blames 'very bad earpiece' for interview in which he did not denounce KKK leader
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally raising funds for US military veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. US Republicans scrambling to win the first contest in the presidential nomination race were gearing for battle at high-profile debate in Iowa, but frontrunner Donald Trump is upending the campaign by defiantly refusing to attend. Trump's gamble has left the presidential race in uncharted waters just days before Iowans vote on February 1, insisting he will not back down in his feud with debate host Fox News.Instead, the billionaire has doubled down, hosting a rogue, rival event for US military veterans at the same time that his own party is showcasing its candidates for president to all-important Iowa voters. / AFP / William EDWARDS (Photo credit should read WILLIAM EDWARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, waves during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Protesters, left, are confronted by supporters during a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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"How many times can you continue to disavow people?" Trump asked, adding that he disavowed Duke's endorsement during a Friday press conference. Trump also said he asked Tapper which white-supremacist groups Tapper wanted him to disavow, but that Tapper was unable to elaborate.

Guthrie then noted that Trump was later asked about the KKK specifically, but still dodged the question.

"I'm sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me and you could hardly hear what he was saying, but what I heard was various groups. And I don't mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference," Trump said.

He continued complaining about the earpiece, saying, "Now, I go and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly, he talked about groups, he also talked about groups, and I have no problem with disavowing groups but I'd at least like to know who they are."

Though Tapper did ask Trump about white supremacist groups generally, he also asked about the KKK specifically. Trump didn't directly address the question.

"You may have groups in there that are totally fine and it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups, and I'll let you know," he told Tapper.

Tapper seemed somewhat perplexed.

"OK, I mean, I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but ..." he said, trailing off and inviting Trump to comment.

"Honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him. And I just don't know anything about him," Trump said.

See what political analysts have to say about this controversy:

Analyst: This Is Trump's First Mention of Earpiece in Klan Controversy

Also see celebs who have endorsed Trump:

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20 celebrities who endorse Donald Trump
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Donald Trump blames 'very bad earpiece' for interview in which he did not denounce KKK leader

Stephen Baldwin


Baldwin, who was fired by Trump on two different seasons of "The Celebrity Apprentice," said during an interview with Don Lemon on an episode of "CNN Tonight" that Trump would make a "great" president "because he's not a politician, and he doesn't care what anybody thinks."  

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Gary Busey

The actor endorsed Trump back in 2011, even after being fired from season four of "The Celebrity Apprentice," and offered his praise for the presidential hopeful again recently. "He's a great guy. He's sharp. He's fast," he told Fox411. "He can change the country after the last eight years."  

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Dennis Rodman

The retired pro-basketball player tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years. We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016." He was fired from season two of "The Celebrity Apprentice." 

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Lou Ferrigno

When asked by TMZ for his thoughts on Trump, the actor and former bodybuilder said, "I hope Donald goes all the way." He was also fired from a season of "The Celebrity Apprentice." 

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Ted Nugent 

The musician wrote an article for WorldNetDaily in which he said, "[Trump] should be given the Medal of Freedom for speaking his mind in such a bold, honest, and straightforward manner."

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Tila Tequila 

The model and reality star posted a video on YouTube expressing her support for Trump.

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Wayne Newton

The Las Vegas entertainer announced his support on "Fox and Friends," “I love Donald, and he would make a great president,” he said. But he also voiced his support for other hopefuls, such as Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, and Ben Carson. 

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Willie Robertson

The businessman and star of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” supported Trump at a rally in Oklahoma last year, where he was invited up on stage. He officially announced his endorsement in January. 

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Jesse Ventura 

Jesse Ventura

The former pro wrestler, former Minnesota governor, and actor was speaking with previous Trump staffer Roger Stone for "Off the Grid," when Ventura said, "I shocked my staff today. I came in and said, ‘You know what, as far as the Republicans are concerned, I hope Trump wins.'" Though he also added, "Now I’m not a Republican — I’m not a Democrat either — so ultimately, I’d like somebody else to win overall.”

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Terrell Owens 

The retired NFL wide receiver told TMZ Sports, "This may be what the country needs and Trump... He’s a guy who won’t put up with B.S. and has what it takes to change how government is run." He appeared on the most recent season of "The Celebrity Apprentice."   

Photo via Getty 

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