Tulsi Gabbard denounces David Duke, rejects his endorsement

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard says claim her campaign is getting boost from Putin apologists is 'fake news' Momentum builds behind push to pass laws enshrining abortion rights Poll: Biden is only Dem candidate that beats Trump outside of margin of error 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 TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' 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 WarrenButtigieg jokes about holding town hall same night as 'Game of Thrones' finale Buttigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Warren offers to help Twitter user with her love life MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisButtigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message De Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' Buttigieg condemns 'voices on Fox' for spreading 'fear' and 'lies' ahead of town hall appearance MORE (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand says she would not detain immigrants De Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' Gillibrand: 'President Trump has started a war on American women' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' Sanders pledges to only nominate Supreme Court justices that support Roe v. Wade From dive bars to steakhouses: How Iowa caucus staffers blow off steam MORE (D-N.J.) have already said they’re running or suggested they intend to join the race.