(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League condemned as “obscene” a statement by presidential candidate Donald Trump, which appeared to tie Jewish donors to white supremacists.
Trump made the statement Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” when asked about the white supremacist David Duke, and why he had declined to condemn him during an earlier interview last week on CNN, when he was asked about Duke and other racist individuals of groups that endorsed Trump’s candidacy.
“David Duke is a bad person who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years,” Trump said on “Morning Joe,” adding he did not immediately condemn him on CNN because, “I don’t like to disavow groups if I don’t know who they are. I mean, you could have Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in groups.”
“It is obscene to even mention a Jewish organization in the same breath as these white supremacist groups,” the Forward quoted the CEO of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, as saying. “Mr. Trump needs to acknowledge that the rhetoric of these hate groups is appalling and does not belong in any political discussion.”
In the CNN interview, Trump said: “I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK, I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”
Trump has previously blamed a faulty earpiece for his non-answer on Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke denied ever publicly endorsing Trump but nonetheless confirmed Thursday that he supports Trump for his tough stance on immigration.
On Super Tuesday, Trump solidified his status as the frontrunner in the Republican primary campaign when he won Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Alabama, Arkansas, and Vermont.