MSNBC's Tamron Hall grills Donald Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson about why Trump bashed David Duke as a racist in 2000, yet was reluctant to disavow him in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. Duke recently announced his conditional support for the Republican frontrunner.
The MSNBC host suggests that Donald Trump is conspiring to hide the fact that he believes David Duke is a racist, in order to get votes from his white supremacist followers. "Many of these very people who may identify with rhetoric from David Duke have gone on social media to support Donald Trump," she notes.
Hall suggests that Trump was not willing to pander to "racist voters" in the 2000 election, but he is willing to do so now. "He called the David Duke, Katrina, from the Reform Party [in 2000], a racist and a problem," she said. "Why did he call the David Duke from the reform party a racist?" asks the MSNBC host.
"[Trump] didn't know this was the David Duke from the KKK?" she asked incredulously. "He thought this was the David Duke from the reform party?"
KARTINA PEIRSON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: He didn't know what Jake [Tapper] was asking him about when he was talking about the Anti-Defamation League.
But I will say this [about] the conspiracy that someone tried to tell him that he needed that vote, I have to remind everybody, a poll that just came out today, Donald Trump is almost at 50% [in national polls], which means every single candidate in the race combined can't even compete. So why would there be any conspiracy to add more votes? He's been winning handily.
TAMRON HALL: That's not absurd because he's losing in Texas. Marco Rubio is picking up steam, and there are also talks in the party of a brokered convention. Every vote counts until the end. You can shake your a you want, but we know it's not a done deal. What i'm trying to get to the heart of is whether or not --
KATRINA PIERSON: Mr. Trump is going to do very well in the south. There is no conspiracy...
I know the Republican Party would like to push that push that idea because they haven't been able to take him down yet.
So why not join the liberal media and try to paint Donald Trump as a racist, right?
It's not going to work.
There is no conspiracy.
Donald Trump was being honest when he said he couldn't hear everything Jake was saying because he did in fact unequivocally disavow David Duke's endorsement and in fact David Duke himself came out and said "I never endorsed Trump and that should be the story."
TAMRON HALL: I understand what you're saying about reports. The issue is in 2000 when Donald Trump was quoted as calling David Duke a bigot, a racist, a problem, fast forward to now when he's run issing for president he has a great amount of support to your point in the South.
Many of these very people who may identify with rhetoric from David Duke have gone on social media to support Donald Trump now he doesn't know the difference between David Duke the Reform Party candidate and David Duke the KKK leader. Do you understand why it sounds absurd?
KATRINA PIERSON: I understand why it's being pulled out of context because Mr. Trump disavowed David Duke the individual 16 years ago with the reform party, yes, he said those things, they were talking about the Anti-Defamation League which is why Mr. Trump kept saying "I don't know those groups, I don't know what you're talking about."
That's why we're having this discussion unequivocally disavowed David Duke.