"Honestly, I don't know David Duke, I don't believe I've ever met him, I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him, and I just don't know anything about him," Trump told CNN Sunday morning, drawing a sharp rebuke from the White House today.
“Look, it'll be up to Mr. Trump to decide how he wants to run his campaign, what he wants to say in terms of the kind of support that he's recruiting to his campaign,” White House Press secretary Josh Earnest told ABC News during today’s daily press briefing.
“It'll be up to Republican voters across the country to decide whether or not they're comfortable with those tactics.”
"Mr. Trump says that there's more he needs to learn about Mr. Duke before he can render an opinion, but I think we've, we now know all we need to know about Mr. Trump to render our own personal opinion about his candidacy."
After a swift wave of criticism spread throughout the media and reverberated across the campaign trail, the billionaire showman ultimately clarified his position in a tweet.
As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow. pic.twitter.com/OIXFKPUlz2
A disqualifying & disgusting response by @realDonaldTrump to the KKK. His coddling of repugnant bigotry is not in the character of America.
"People are going to have to decide for themselves, you know, sort of take their own measure of Mr. Trump, and his rhetoric, and the kinds of values that he champions on the stump,” Earnest said.
“They'll have to evaluate who his supporters are the extent that he is coordinating with his supporters. But that'll be up to the American people to decide.”
ABC News' Alex Mallin contributed to this report