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Donald Trump tells TODAY's Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie he's "disavowed" former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and blamed a "very bad earpiece" for his earlier inability to repeatedly repudiate the group.
Trump claimed he believed CNN anchor Jake Tapper was asking him about “various groups” and not just the KKK during a Sunday interview.
“I’m sitting in a house in Florida, with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying," he said. "What I heard was 'various groups.' And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke.”
Trump fell into the racially charged controversy over the weekend. He first disavowed Duke during a news conference last Friday, but then he claimed he didn't know enough about the former KKK grand wizard to make such a call when asked about it two days later during the CNN interview. He also refused several chances to reject the support of Duke's white supremacist supporters.
Although Trump blamed "a lousy earpiece" during questioning, he pointed out he repudiated Duke both during a news conference and "all weekend long on Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, it's never enough."
The latest political storm surrounding Trump doesn't seem to be pulling down his poll numbers. After solid electoral wins in Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire, the brash billionaire continues to be the front-runner heading into Super Tuesday, when 11 states will hold primaries and caucuses in a single day.
Trump continued the name-calling with one of his biggest rivals, Marco Rubio, but said he didn't blame the Florida senator for slinging insults at him.
"He did it because he’s desperate," he said. "He’s down in the polls. He’s a nervous wreck."
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