Former model Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has defended her husband’s reluctance to condemn white supremacist groups. Mrs. Trump blamed the media for badgering her husband on what she considered a settled issue.
On Feb. 29, 45-year-old Melania Trump sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss her marriage, her husband’s presidential campaign and where she may disagree with him.
Mrs. Trump said that she is constantly chiding her spouse for his foul language on the campaign trail — especially when he repeated a fan’s claim that rival candidate and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is a p—.
“I don’t agree with everything he says, [but] that is normal,” Mrs. Trump said. “I’m my own person, I tell him what I think… and I think that’s very important in the relationship.”
The potential first lady of the U.S. proceeded to defend her husband’s refusal to condemn former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke and his associations.
On Feb. 28, Trump hesitated to condemn the white supremacist groups that were supporting his presidential bid during a sit-down with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
The business mogul said that he could not disavow the endorsement of Duke because “I just don’t know anything about him.”
Trump’s assertion that he did not know much about Duke was false — he had condemned the KKK leader just two days earlier during a Feb. 26 press conference. He had also called Duke a “bigot” in 2000.
The presidential candidate blamed his gaffe on a faulty ear-piece the following day, stating that he had misheard Tapper’s questions.
“I don’t know why the media needs to ask him so many times,” Mrs. Trump said in defense of her husband. “They were asking him about the group and he said I don’t know about the groups.”
Republican lawmakers have been quick to distance themselves from Trump’s controversy, NPR reports.
On March 1, House Speaker and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin told reporters that “if a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party … they must reject any group or any cause that is built on bigotry.”
Mrs. Trump told Cooper that her husband was being slandered.
“He’s not racist,” Melania Trump said. “He’s not anti-immigrant.”
Trump has a history of racial controversy. During the 1970s, the Trump Management Corporation was sued twice by the U.S. Justice Department for alleged racial discrimination, Huffington Post reports.
In 2011, he was openly questioned whether or not U.S. President Barack Obama, the first African-American elected into the White House, was born in America.
During his presidential campaign, Trump has tolerated violence against racial minorities. He suggested that a Black Lives Matter protester beaten during one of his rallies deserved it. After two Boston men who had beaten a homeless Latino man said they were influenced by Trumps rhetoric, the business mogul responded by calling them “passionate.”
The presidential candidate has maintained that he is not a racist. In April 2011, he said that his questioning of President Obama’s birthplace had not impacted his standing with the African American community, insisting that he has “... a great relationship with the blacks.”