Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) on Monday said that white nationalist David Duke’s support of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE does not make the GOP presidential front-runner racist.
“I’ve read some of the things he said and it looks to me that he totally disavowed the endorsement,” he told Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe."
“Does anybody think Donald Trump is a racist?” Huckabee asked. "I don’t. I mean, I really don’t. I don’t know of anything in his life that indicates that this man has racist tendencies.”
Trump has come under fire from his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination and a host of other Republicans for not disavowing Duke's endorsement during a CNN interview on Sunday. Trump distanced himself from Duke at a Friday news conference, but did not do so on Sunday.
In another interview on Monday, Trump blamed his comments on a faulty earpiece.
Huckabee said that Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, is universally reviled as a representative of bigotry.
“David Duke and the KKK are absolutely abominable,” he said. "I don’t think that anybody I know, anybody I’ve ever known supports them.”
Some have wondered whether Trump did not offer a stronger statement on Sunday because of the upcoming Super Tuesday contests in the South, but Huckabee said Duke is reviled there. Trump, he said, may not realize that.
“I doubt he is as sensitive about just how deplorable David Duke is to many of us in the South,” he said of Trump.
“Race relationships are not only dramatically better, but I think in many cases better than they are in other parts of the country,” the former Arkansas governor added. "I think that this continuing perception that the South is still a hotbed of racism, Joe, that’s nonsense and you know that’s nonsense.”
Mike Huckabee’s remarks follow his daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders becoming a senior adviser for the Trump campaign last week.
Trump dodged questions about Duke’s support during an uncomfortable interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper last Sunday. The outspoken billionaire has repeatedly denied he appreciates Duke’s support in the GOP presidential primary.
Duke urged listeners on his radio show to back Trump last week, adding that supporting Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: Dropping FARC from terrorist list threatens Colombians, US security This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Human rights groups sound alarm over Interpol election MORE (R-Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Advocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step Ted Cruz ribs Newsom over vacation in Mexico: 'Cancun is much nicer than Cabo' MORE (R-Texas) instead constitutes “treason to your heritage."