Former KKK leader David Duke was none too pleased that President Donald Trump on Monday finally got around to condemning extremist groups by name ― including neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan ― for the deadly weekend protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Minutes after Trump’s speech, Duke lashed out in a series of tweets, claiming the president had been manipulated by the media.
“It’s amazing to see how the media is able to bully the President of the United States into going along with their FAKE NEWS narrative,” Duke tweeted.
Soon after that, in an anti-Semitic, racist Periscope video rant, Duke spoke directly to Trump, claiming white nationalists abhor violence. He said “it’s just ridiculous” that the president felt he had to make Monday’s statement.
“President Trump, please, for God’s sake, don’t feel like you need to say these things,” Duke admonished in the video. “It’s not going to do you any good.”
Duke also stuck up for James Alex Fields, 20, the white nationalist motorist accused of ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32. “When you’re under attack ... you panic and you do things that are stupid and you do things that are wrong,” Duke said.
Trump made an address to the nation on Monday, after two days of withering criticism for a vague Saturday statement that criticized hatred and bigotry on “many sides.”
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said.
Lawmakers from both parties had called Trump out for not specifically denouncing hate groups in the wake of a white nationalist rally that left three people dead, including two state troopers, and at least 19 injured.
Some white supremacist organizations, such as the Daily Stormer, praised Trump’s vague weekend statement. Duke at the time appeared to warn the president against calling out white nationalists, a group that has largely embraced Trump.
Duke said on Saturday that the rally would help fulfill Trump’s “promises.”
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” Duke said. “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”