Trump to campaign in Louisiana on Friday; Duke to skip rally _lowres

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on Super Tuesday primary election night at the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio will be stumping in Louisiana when the dust clears from Super Tuesday as both candidates seek to build support before Saturday’s primary in the state.

But the Louisianian whose support for Trump has made headlines recently — former Ku Klux Klan leader, state lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate David Duke — said he won’t be attending Trump’s rally even though he continues to back the real estate mogul-turned-candidate.

Both Trump and Rubio will be in the state Friday night, hours before Louisiana voters go to the polls. It will be the second time each of them has campaigned here.

Trump will hold a rally at New Orleans’ Lakefront Airport, while Rubio, a Florida senator who is trailing in the polls, will host an event in Baton Rouge.

The Trump rally will begin at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 3 p.m.

Rubio’s rally will start at 6:45 p.m. at the Town Square at North Boulevard in Baton Rouge. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m.

Tickets for both events are available by searching the candidates’ names at www.eventbrite.com.

The rallies will come a week after the Trump campaign stumbled in its reactions after Duke told supporters on his radio show that he backed portions of Trump’s platform and that they should volunteer for his campaign.

Pressed on the issue, Trump said last week that he disavowed Duke. However, when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him in a TV interview Sunday whether he would disavow Duke and white supremacist groups, Trump replied, “I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know ... because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”

On Monday, he told NBC’s “Today” show that he hadn’t understand the question because of a “bad earpiece,” and he once again disavowed Duke’s support.

Duke reiterated support Tuesday for what he described as some portions of Trump’s platform, but in an interview with The New Orleans Advocate he said he was not planning to attend Friday’s rally.

“One of the good things about the Trump campaign is he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks,” Duke said.

Specifically, he praised Trump’s anti-immigration stance — which Duke said is needed to prevent “European-Americans” from becoming a “minority in their own country” — and said other Republican candidates would support a confrontation with Russia that would lead to a “catastrophic war.”

“The government and the media in this country are absolutely destroying European people,” said Duke, who went on to blame gun violence on violent films produced by “the Jewish domination of media and culture.”

Duke also sought to minimize his three years in what he described as a small chapter of the Ku Klux Klan and said the policies he promoted in his unsuccessful runs for U.S. senator and president, as well as his 1991 bid for the governor’s mansion in which he won 38 percent of the vote, were now mainstream in the GOP.

“The Republican Party has adopted almost all of my platform,” Duke said.