Tulsi Gabbard denounces David Duke, rejects his endorsement

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardPoll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Gabbard defeats man in push-up contest at New Hampshire town hall Gabbard on personal meeting with Sanders: 'He showed me the greatest respect' MORE (D-Hawaii) on Tuesday denounced David Duke, a founder and former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and rejected his 2020 endorsement.

“I have strongly denounced David Duke’s hateful views and his so-called ‘support’ multiple times in the past, and reject his support,” Gabbard said in a statement to The Hill.

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“Publicizing Duke's so-called ‘endorsement’ is meant to distract from my message: that I will end regime-change wars, work to end the new cold war and take us away from the precipice of a nuclear war, which is a greater danger now than ever before.”

Duke, who founded a Louisiana branch of the KKK in 1974 and served as the grand wizard of the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan until 1979, on Monday appeared to endorse Gabbard, the first Hindu member of Congress.

“Tulsi Gabbard in 2020. Finally a candidate for President who will really put America First?” he tweeted, linking to an article about President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE’s recent proposal to keep troops in Iraq. Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, is a staunch opponent of military interventionism.

Duke also changed his Twitter page banner to a picture of Gabbard, endorsing Gabbard for president. The text reads, “Tulsi Gabbard for President. Finally a candidate who will actually put America First rather than Israel First!”

Duke, who endorsed Trump in 2016, has appeared to sour on the president in office. Trump disavowed Duke's endorsement.

Duke later called on Trump in November 2016 to pick Gabbard as his secretary of State, an endorsement the Hawaii Democrat also rejected.

“U didn't know I'm Polynesian/Cauc? Dad couldn't use 'whites only' water fountain. No thanks. Ur white nationalism is pure evil,” she tweeted at the time. 

“Our movement is one of love/aloha, inclusivity. Duke represents hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, fear. We don’t want his ‘support.’ Period,” she added in Dec. 2016. 

Duke has unsuccessfully run for Congress and the presidency multiple times, but served in the Louisiana state House of Representatives from 1989 to 1992.

Gabbard is a member what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary field. Several high-profile candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDNC announces new criteria for New Hampshire debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-N.J.) have already said they’re running or suggested they intend to join the race.