Here’s what you need to know about President Donald Trump’s wild news conference Tuesday: It drew the immediate praise of David Duke.
The President’s abrupt and belligerent about-face Tuesday, in which he lashed out at the media for mischaracterizing white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, drew the swift condemnation of a number of lawmakers, including Republicans, and shocked the people who witnessed them.
But one person who was very happy with the words of the US President was the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who just as quickly reacted on Twitter, thanking the President “for your honesty and courage.”
“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa,” was the full tweet from an account that is not verified by Twitter but appears to represent Duke and features videos apparently posted by and of him.
Trump used language familiar to the “alt-right” and white supremacists when he bemoaned “changing culture” that would results from the tearing down of statues honoring confederate generals like Robert E. Lee, who Trump equated with founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who were slave owners.
Trump condemned the white supremacists and neo-Nazis, but he defended as “very fine people” some of the marchers who marched alongside them.
Trump was also asked Tuesday specifically about Duke, who took part in the Charlottesville march.
“I didn’t know David Duke was there,” Trump said, before arguing he was slow to react to the racists at the march because he wanted to get all the facts.
Trump drew criticism for refusing to condemn Duke during a contentious interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in February 2016.
He later argued a faulty earpiece had made him not understand the question. Watch that exchange here:
Correction: This story misquoted Trump. He said some of the people marching along the white nationalists were “very fine,” not “good.”