UPDATE: 12:12 p.m. ET July 22, 2016
The day after Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, David Duke, a registered Republican and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, confirmedon his website Friday that he will run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana to fill a seat that will be vacated by Republican Sen. David Vitter.
Duke said in a video,”I’m proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans. However, what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and heritage of European Americans.”
He also stated, “We must stop the massive immigration and the ethnic cleansing of the people whose forefathers made America.”
ORIGINAL STORY: July 13, 2016
“I’d be the only person in Congress openly defending the rights and the heritage of European Americans,” Duke said.
By Sheryl Estrada
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke announced he intends to challenge Louisiana Republican Congressman Steve Scalise for his seat.
He tweeted the announcement on Tuesday:
David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) July 11, 2016
Demonstrations began taking place across the country in response to the police-related deaths of Alton Sterling on July 5 in Louisiana and Philando Castile,July 6, in Minnesota. A lone gunman shot and killed five policeofficers and injured seven on Thursday following a protest in Dallas. Duke said the officers being killed made him consider a run for congress.
“I don’t take any satisfaction in the fact that I was right, but I have been right,” he told The Daily Beast. “Unless European Americans stand up, they are going to lose everything they care about in this country.
“There are millions of people across the country who would like to have me in the Congress. I’d be the only person in Congress openly defending the rights and the heritage of European Americans. We are on the offensive today. There’s no more defenses.”
Scalise’s vote to ban Confederate flags in Veterans Administration cemeteries has also troubled Duke.
“[Scalise] crawled on his hands and his knees to the Black caucus. This should not stand,” Duke said.
He will make a final decision on running in the next few days, as the ballot deadline is July 22. Duke previously ran for governor of Louisiana in 1991 and Congress in 1999.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is a contenderin the race to become Trump’s vice presidential pick. But Duke, angered that Gingrich recently said white people don’t understand what it’s like for Blacks routinely subjected to discrimination, thinks he would be a better VP pick.
“I had a perfect Republican voting record,” Duke told The Daily Beast. “If [Trump] had me as a VP he would have a life insurance policy.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) refers to the KKK, founded in 1865, as “the most infamous and oldest of American hate groups.” Duke founded The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1975. According to the SPLC, the organization has “attempted to put a ‘kinder, gentler’ face on the Klan, courting media attention and attempting to portray itself as a modern ‘white civil rights’ organization. But beneath that veneer lurks the same bigoted rhetoric.”
Duke for Trump
On his radio show in February, Duke referred to the Republican Party as an “overwhelming party of European Americans” and said he supported Trump. He encouraged his audience to do the same.
“I do support [Trump’s] candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do,” he said.
“When this show’s over, go out, call the Republican Party, but call Donald Trump’s headquarters, volunteer. They’re screaming for volunteers. Go in there, you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have.”
Duke’s radio show on Feb. 24:
Initially, Trump failed to distance himself from white supremacists, including Duke, who endorsed him. He eventually disavowed Duke’s support.
However, a Quinnipiac University poll published on June 29 revealed that 61 percent of American voters feel “the 2016 election has increased the level of hatred and prejudice in the U.S.” Of that 61 percent, 67 percent blame Trump and 16 percent blame Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.