David Duke, the white nationalist leader and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, urged “European-Americans” to vote for Donald Trump and said it would be “crazy” to support Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Duke, who drew attention when he revealed his support for Trump on his radio show Wednesday, reaffirmed it in a lengthy interview Thursday evening with Media Matters. Duke also discussed what he contends is excessive Jewish control of the media and political system.
“On the crucial issues facing the United States and the world, he's right,” Duke told Media Matters, citing Trump's claimed opposition to the initial invasion of Iraq and his effort to “ratchet down problems with Russia.” He later added, “I guess people can read it as a partial endorsement, I think people should vote for Donald Trump, European-Americans. I think voting for Ted Cruz would be crazy.”
Trump's bigoted attacks on racial and religious minorities have led to widespread support among white nationalists for his presidential campaign. His candidacy has also been a fundraising engine for white nationalist media websites, which have praised Trump for spurring “unprecedented interest in” their ideology and putting their ideas “firmly in the mainstream.” Earlier this month Trump said he would return a donation he received from a white nationalist leader whose super PAC has been robocalling Republican voters praising Trump's anti-immigrant positions.
“I think the most important parts of his message are good enough,” Duke said about Trump. “I think one of the most critical things facing our country and the world is the possibility of World War III. I think he is the anti-war candidate. He is very strong about not getting into the wars, he was opposed to the Iraq War.”
Duke went on to invoke a series of anti-Semitic tropes, blaming what he contends is heavy Jewish influence in politics and media in the United States for the invasion of Iraq and claiming that “a Jewish tribalism ... dominates the country.”
“There are a lot of Jews in major media in America and major political influence in America and I think this was the overriding factor, that Israel wanted this war,” he said. “We all know that the biggest players in campaign finance in America are the Jewish billionaires, that's just a fact, we can prove it. The real privilege in America is Jewish privilege. They talk about Hollywood being anti-black and all that. How about the fact that it's completely dominated by Jews? Hollywood is overwhelmingly Jewish-controlled. I can show you articles by Jews boasting about the fact that they control nearly every major studio in Hollywood.”
He later added, “I am pretty hard on the Jewish question, I really do believe there is a Jewish tribalism that dominates the country. Politically, economically, the Goldman Sachs of the world. They are very tribal, and they network and they push their own interest, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars according to Forbes promoting their agenda, what they consider the agenda of the Jewish people, and the interest of the Jewish people and Israel, a foreign country.”
Duke also asked if this reporter was Jewish: “I don't know what your name really is, are you Jewish? It's a legitimate question for me these days.”
Duke then went on to claim much of the Jewish community hates Trump.
“I think the Jewish establishment in America very much hates him,” Duke said. “I remember this article in Salon that said Jews should be very afraid of Donald Trump.”