Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is reportedly under fire for not condemning the Ku Klux Klan after the group’s members supported his campaign on Feb. 28.
Rival Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio of Florida was quick to criticize Trump.
“You say to me ‘David Duke’ I say ‘racist, immediately,” said Rubio on Feb. 29, reports CNN.
“Why wouldn’t he condemn the Ku Klux Klan? There is no room in the conservative movement and there is no room in the Republican Party for members of the Ku Klux Klan or racists like David Duke.”
Trump stated that he had previously disavowed the former KKK leader David Duke, and refused to do so on Feb. 28 because he had a bad earpiece.
“I don’t care how bad the earpiece is, Ku Klux Klan comes through pretty clearly,” said Rubio.
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina similarly slammed Trump’s initial refusal to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan.
“We saw and looked at true hate in the eyes last year. I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK; that is not a part of our party, that is not who we want as president, we will not allow that in our country,” said Haley.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, also joined in slamming the real estate mogul.
“A disqualifying and disgusting response by @realDonaldTrump to the KKK. His coddling of repugnant bigotry is not in the character of America,” Romney wrote in a tweet.
The recent condemnations of Trump are part of a larger trend of prominent Republicans moving to turn support away from the Republican presidential candidate.
Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage of Maine called for Republican leaders to write an open letter “to the people, disavowing Mr. Trump and his divisive brand of politics,” on Feb. 27, reports The New York Times.
Republican presidential candidates are reportedly drafting plans to defeat Trump in the event of a brokered convention.