Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for United States president, is being supported by the Crusader – one of the most prominent newspapers of the Ku Klux Klan.
As reported by The Washington Post, under the banner “Make America Great Again”, the entire front page of the paper’s current issue is devoted to a lengthy defence of Trump’s message — an embrace some have labelled a de facto endorsement.
“Make America Great Again! It is a slogan that has been repeatedly used by Donald Trump in his campaign for the presidency,” Pastor Thomas Robb wrote in the Crusader. “You can see it on the shirts, buttons, posters and ball caps such as the one being worn here by Trump speaking at a recent rally… But can it happen? Can America really be great again? This is what we will soon find out!”
“While Trump wants to make America great again, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What made America great in the first place?’” the article continues. “The short answer to that is simple. America was great not because of what our forefathers did — but because of who our forefathers were.
“America was founded as a White Christian Republic. And as a White Christian Republic it became great.”
The Trump campaign sharply and swiftly criticised the article. “Mr. Trump and the campaign denounces hate in any form,” the campaign said in a statement on November 2. “This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign.”
Reached by phone, Robb told The Washington Post that while the Crusader wasn’t officially endorsing Trump, his article signalled the publication’s enthusiastic support for the Republican billionaire’s candidacy.
“Overall, we do like his nationalist views and his words about shutting down the border to illegal aliens,” Robb said. “It’s not an endorsement because, like anybody, there’s things you disagree with. But he kind of reflects what’s happening throughout the world. There seems to be a surge of nationalism worldwide as nationals reclaim their borders.”
In a separate report, National Public Radio (NPR) noted that the support of racists and white nationalists has been a campaign-long problem for Trump. Former KKK leader David Duke has repeatedly and enthusiastically backed the Republican nominee, and has even launched a longshot bid for a US Senate seat in Louisiana.
“As a United States senator, nobody will be more supportive of his legislative agenda, his Supreme Court agenda, than I will,” Duke told NPR earlier this year.
When Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep asked Duke whether he thought “Trump voters are your voters,” Duke replied, “Well of course they are. Because I represent the ideas of preserving this country and the heritage of this country, and I think Trump represents that well.”
The Associated Press (AP) reported that Trump had been criticised earlier in the campaign for failing to immediately denounce the endorsement of Duke, who is described as a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.