GOP senator: Trump better than Clinton even if he didn't disavow KKK
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A Republican senator says Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE would be a better choice for president than any Democrat even if hadn't disavowed the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

"Even if you're disappointed with the way he's responding to things, even if you're mad at him, you disagree with him, if he did it intentionally — I don't think he did, I think he just made a mistake — even if he did, they're still going to do a better job with him there than if you had Hillary or Bernie in his place," Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told the Huffington Post on Tuesday.

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Rounds also condemned the white supremacist groups and distanced himself from Trump's comments.

"Honestly, I've only been here a year, but I can tell you that I can't think of a single person who would be in favor of, or promote anything to do, or give any credibility to any movement that would suspect or promote additional activity on the part of white supremacists," Rounds said when asked about Republican lawmakers' feelings about Trump as their nominee.

 

“Down the line, Republican or Democrat, there is no room anyplace for supporters of the KKK or any other white supremacist group."

During a CNN interview Sunday, Trump was asked about Duke's endorsement of him. He declined to denounce the white supremacist, saying he wasn't aware of Duke or any groups he's affiliated with.

The real estate mogul later backtracked, saying that he had a faulty earpiece during the interview and didn't understand the question.

Rounds on Tuesday noted that Trump's remarks were disappointing.

"I think it's an unfortunate response. A very unfortunate response," he said.

"My choice would still be — honestly, I'm still leaning to Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico The Hill's 12:30 Report Colbert mocks Trump for sipping water during speech on Asia trip MORE, as I suspect there are others [who] are," he added.

Rounds, though, said that Trump would still be a better choice than either Democratic candidates Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE or Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE.

"But nonetheless, our critical issue is fixing things in the United States, and you can't do that if you've got Bernie or Hillary, because they have a differing point of view about what's right and what's wrong with this country," he said.

Updated at 6:18 p.m.