At the U.S. Senate debate at Dillard University, a historically black Louisiana school, former Klan leader David Duke managed to qualify as a participant. Along with several other candidates — both Republican and Democrat — Duke debated before an empty auditorium and proceeded to have an epic meltdown.
Fellow Republican candidate John Neely Kennedy denounced Duke, declaring, “Mr. Duke is a convicted liar. Mr. Duke is a convicted felon. My ballot number is 13. His federal prison number is 28213034. He spent time in prison for lying to his supporters. He swindled them out of their money, and took that money and used it for his gambling addiction. Everything Mr. Duke said is an unmitigated lie.” For good measure, he added that it “must be terrible to wake up in the morning with that much hate in your heart.”
“I’m gonna go down this path,” said moderator John Snell, “against my better judgment and let Mr. Duke respond.”
Duke responded to the reminder that he had pleaded guilty in 2002 to mail fraud and filing a false tax return by denouncing the federal government and playing the victim card. “Look, I was targeted by the government, yes,” Duke began, but was swiftly corrected by Snell, who brought up the guilty plea and initiated a tense back-and-forth. “Would you not interrupt me?!” Duke shouted indignantly. “Look, you’re not one of the debaters here, I’m sorry Mr. Snell. You’re the moderator! You gave me a chance to rebut and you’re interrupting me! Let me rebut! Let me rebut!”
Duke then called Snell a “typical media hack,” prompting Snell to try cutting Duke off entirely and allowing another candidate to respond. “Oh yeah, you’re gonna silence me now?!” he asked, once again yelling at the top of his lungs. “You’re gonna silence me?! You’re gonna prevent me from answering this question because you wanna make a point?! I have a right to respond! Look, Mr. Snell, I have a right to respond. Because you didn’t like my response you interrupt me?”
After repeatedly shouting that Snell “didn’t even give me the chance” to respond, Snell eventually backed down and allowed Duke to continue. “Here’s the answer, okay? Yes, the federal government targeted me. And they target anybody in this country, and would, who stands up and says these things. And these Republicans — conservatives — have been targeted. How much do you think the federal government hates me?”
“Listen, here’s the issue,” he continued. “The truth is, that anybody who stands up in this country and tells the truth [about] what’s happening to this country — we’re losing our country — anybody who does that is gonna be a target of the media just like Donald Trump.”
Later on in the debate, during the Q&A portion, Snell took it upon himself to ask Duke about his anti-Semitic attacks on the media. “My question to you is, when your website covered [the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump], if you will, there was a repeated reference in an article to the — and criticism of the reporters who were referred to repeatedly as the ‘CNN Jews.’ Repeated references. And I’m curious, what in the world that had to do — the fact that they were Jewish — with a story about Donald Trump and an open microphone?”
“Well, let me tell you something. We have to start talking openly about any subject, and we have to have freedom of speech in this country. And there is a problem in America with a very strong, powerful, tribal group that dominates our media and dominates our international banking,” he replied. In fact, he said, Hillary Clinton enjoys the support of “seven major international banking and media supporters” who give her “billions and billions of dollars” and who support “the tribalist bankers.” Duke neglected to mention the $2 billion of free media that Trump received between the primaries and general election, of course.
Duke ludicrously went on to say that he’s “not opposed to all Jews, I think there’s a lot of great [Jews], in fact there’s a lot of Jews that I honor” but that he’s “against Jews or anybody else that puts the interest of some other place, another country over our own country” and that is “controlling and dominating the media” and “teaching black people” to “hate white people.”
Once again Snell pressed Duke on what the reporters’ (alleged) Judaism had to do with stories about Trump groping women, to which Duke replied “everything.” Duke then went off topic to discuss a shadowy “cabal in this government that literally controls our foreign policy.” Bringing up Syria — “a country with 3 million Christians” and a “secular government” — Duke accused Hillary Clinton of having supported Saudi Arabia which, in turn, supported ISIS. “The lady should be getting the electric chair, being charged with treason,” he exclaimed.