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29 Feb, 2016 16:02

KKK leader & Le Pen endorse Trump amid Mussolini scandal

KKK leader & Le Pen endorse Trump amid Mussolini scandal

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump received endorsements from two high-profile "racists" – French right-wing politician Jean-Marie Le Pen and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.

Le Pen, who has been convicted of contesting crimes against humanity, wrote in a tweet on Saturday: "If I were American, I would vote Donald Trump… But may God protect him!"

Le Pen’s backing of Trump came the same week former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke backed the billionaire candidate.

Speaking on his radio show last week and in a post on his Facebook page, Duke said that "voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage."

Over 500 major media articles came out today attacking me. Other than the Jewish ultra-Zionist NY Daily News, not one...

Posted by Dr. David Duke on Friday, 26 February 2016

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Trump refused to condemn Duke’s support, instead stating that he didn’t "know anything about David Duke" and "nothing about white supremacists".

When pressed again over the KKK’s support for Trump, the Republican said he would have to "research" the groups before he could disavow anyone.

"If you would send me a list of groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong," Trump said. "You may have groups in there that are totally fine. It would be very unfair. So give me a list of groups and I’ll let you know."

Following the backlash to his dodging of the condemnation on CNN, Trump tweeted a clip from a press conference on Friday in which he was also questioned about Duke’s support.

"I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right – I disavow," he said.

In 2000, Trump also told the New York Times that Duke was "not company I wish to keep", when questioned about his involvement with the Reform Party.

Duke, who was a member of the Louisiana state legislature from 1989 to 1992, has much in common with his French counterpart Le Pen.

READ MORE: Trump 'reminds me of Hitler’ - ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox

They have both faced criticism for their comments and skepticism about the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, and in Le Pen’s case, he was convicted in 2012 for his remarks, receiving a €10,000 fine and three-month suspended sentence.

In 2014, when discussing the refugee crisis Europe, Le Pen told journalists that "Ebola could sort out" the "migratory invasion" in three months.

On Monday, Trump claimed the reason he didn't distance himself from the KKK's support during his interview was because he had been given a "very bad earpiece" and that he couldn't hear anchor Jake Tapper clearly.

"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 told NBC's Today program. "What I heard was 'various groups.' And I don't mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke."

READ MORE: Il Duce Trump: Republican frontrunner defends retweeting ‘very good’ Mussolini quote

Trump is also defending himself for his retweet of a quote from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on Sunday, which read: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep."

Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, however, Trump said he knew it was Mussolini, but retweeted it anyway as it was "a very good quote".

In response to Trump's statements on various world leaders over the campaign, a group known as the "Emergency Committee for Israel" has released an ad attacking Trump over his views.

The video's description describes him as "kissing up to dictators".