Tulsi Gabbard denounces David Duke, rejects his endorsement

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardNBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race Montana governor visiting Iowa amid talk of possible 2020 bid 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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 WarrenNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Poll: Sanders, Biden seen as most popular second choices in Dem primary MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment MORE (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union Omar: Next president should declare national emergency on climate change ‘on day 1’ MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union Former Virginia Gov McAuliffe writes book about confronting white nationalism MORE (D-N.J.) have already said they’re running or suggested they intend to join the race.