Mike Pence Declines to Call Former KKK Leader David Duke 'Deplorable'

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence this week declined to call former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke “deplorable,” despite even his fellow Republicans urging him to do so.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday, Pence slammed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for referring to Trump supporters as belonging to a “basket of deplorables.” Clinton made the comment during a fundraiser on Friday in reference to Trump supporters being “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”

Blitzer asked Pence whether Clinton’s remark was inaccurate.

“There are some supporters of Donald Trump and Mike Pence who David Duke, for example, some other white nationalists who would fit into that category of deplorables. Right” Blitzer asked.

Pence said Trump has “denounced” Duke, adding, “We don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of people who think like him,” but when pressed by Blitzer on whether Duke is deplorable, Pence said, “No, I’m not in the name calling business.”

Duke presently is also running for U.S. Senate from Louisiana.

On Tuesday, during a visit to the Capitol, some of Pence’s fellow Republicans called on him to denounce Duke more forcefully.

In a private meeting with Pence, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah “emphasized that Republicans must identify David Duke’s racism as deplorable, acknowledging that he ordinarily uses terms like ‘deplorable’ to describe messages, ideas, actions and organizations, but not people,” Lee spokesman Conn Carroll told NBC News, adding that “Lee also encouraged the Trump campaign to be explicit in its denunciation of the alt right movement.”

Clinton also jumped on Pence, tweeting, “If you won’t say the KKK is deplorable, you have no business running the country.”

And at a campaign event in Michigan on Tuesday, Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, expressed similar comments.

“If you cannot call out bigotry. If you cannot call out racism, xenophobia. If you cannot call out and you stand back and be silent about it then you are enabling it to grow. You are enabling it to become more powerful,” Kaine said. “We want to be a nation of the positive virtues not the dark emotions and not the negative virtues.”

In a statement over the weekend, Clinton said she regretted using the word “half” when referring to Trump’s “deplorable” supporters, but added that what is “deplorable” is the Trump campaign hiring “a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values.”

Following Pence’s CNN interview, Duke praised Pence for not denouncing him.

“It’s good to see an individual like Pence and others start to reject this absolute controlled media,” Duke told BuzzFeed News. He later said: “The truth is the Republican Party is a big tent. I served in the Republican caucus. I was in the Republican caucus in the legislature. I had a perfect Republican voting record.”

On a radio show earlier this month, Duke and cohost Jay Hess said a Clinton presidencywould be a detriment to white America. Hess said Clinton is the “architect of white genocide” and a “traitor.”

Duke explained further: “When a person goes to the store, they go to the mall, or they drive somewhere in their car and they break down, or they stop at a traffic light and they might get hijacked, nine times out of 10 it’s not gonna be some white guy hijacking their car. It’s not gonna be a white guy kidnapping them at the Walmart, right And, you know, taking their family and slaughtering them, or robbing them or raping the women. That’s just the reality of life in this country.”

David Axelrod, a former chief strategist for President Barack Obama, on CNN Tuesday night called out Pence for saying that calling Duke deplorable would be uncivil: “Calling a white supremacist like David Duke deplorable would definitely not be uncivil.”

Latest News

Wells Fargo Announces New Grants To Advance Economic Mobility and Racial Equity in Charlotte, North Carolina

Originally published at stories.wf.com by Wayne Thompson. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo is delivering more than $3.2 million in grants to address a range of critical community needs across Charlotte, North Carolina. Johnson C. Smith University and United Way of…

KPMG’s Laura Frigenti on Looking to the Future and Preparing Workers for the Digital Economy

Originally published at home.kpmg. Laura Frigenti is KPMG’s Global Head, International Development Assistance Services Institute, KPMG International and Executive Director. KPMG ranked No. 16 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 is to ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable…

Humana Healthy Horizons Invests $1.75 Million in No Kid Hungry To Address Food Insecurity for Kids and Families

Originally published at press.humana.com. Humana ranked No. 13 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Humana Healthy Horizons, the Medicaid business of leading health and well-being company Humana Inc., today announces a new partnership with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign dedicated to ending childhood hunger…

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 742,000 Jobs in April 2021

Originally published at mediacenter.adp.com. ADP ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Private sector employment increased by 742,000 jobs from March to April according to the April ADP National Employment Report.  Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP National Employment…