Duke was initially cagey in his support of Trump, praising his hardline stance on immigration while maintaining simultaneously that he was not endorsing Trump and that whites not voting for Trump were committing “treason toward their heritage.” He later substantially increased his support for Trump, claiming he inspired him to run for Congress in 2016, where the former Louisiana state congressman finished with just 3.4 percent of the vote. Trump and his surrogates have not been nearly as warm: Trump initially denied having heard of Duke, then denounced him, with his son Eric going as far as to say he “deserves a bullet.”
Duke founded the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a Louisiana-based organization claiming to inherit the legacy of the original Klan, in 1974. His radically different approach won notability and popularity, shifting the Klan away from anti-women and anti-Catholic rhetoric, though he continued to financially support Holocaust deniers and call immigration a threat to “the very existence of our genotype.”
While Duke’s call, like most, depends on projections that may or may not be accurate, Trump has the clearest path to the presidency. As of 12:45 a.m. on November 9, Trump holds a 238-215 Electoral College lead (270 votes are required to win the Presidency) over Hillary Clinton in CNN’s projection.