On Monday night, Megyn Kelly, unlike her compatriots on Fox News who defended Donald Trump’s refusal to disavow David Duke on Meet the Press, challenged Mike Huckabee, who has also defended Trump. Kelly wasn’t buying Trump’s lame explanation that his earpiece hadn’t been working, either. Here’s how Kelly went after Huckabee (transcript below):
Kelly: What do you make of that? Let’s start with Mitt Romney’s response saying this was coddling of bigotry and disqualifying for Donald Trump?
Huckabee: I’m amazed that Mitt would say that. I mean Donald Trump has repeatedly disavowed David Duke, disavowed the Klan.
Kelly: When did he repeatedly disavow the Klan?
Huckabee: I don’t think anybody suggested that Donald Trump… well he did it on his Twitter account. He did it on Friday. He did it today repeatedly.
Kelly: The Klan or David Duke?
Huckabee: Well, both. I don’t know of anybody who has ever suggested that Donald Trump is a racist. I’m not speaking as somebody whose out there advocating for Trump, I just want to say I just don’t think that Donald Trump has given any indication that he is supportive of the Klu Klux Klan. My Gosh, who would be
Kelly: Not except in that interview is what his critics say. Not except in that interview is what his critics say. Because it was so strange that he would say on Friday, “I disavow David Duke and then when specifically asked on Sunday, act like he didn’t know who David Duke was.
Huckabee; You I can’t answer that. I really can’t. you’ll have to ask Donald Trump because I haven’t talked to him about it. But the fact is -
Kelly: How do you explain that? What his critics say, the explanation is that he heard very well and he was trying to give some sort of a dog whistle to the people in the South who don’t want to hear David Duke disavowed. That’s what Mitt Romney is suggesting right there.
Huckabee: Sure, Mitt Romney wasn’t on the ear piece. Neither was Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz and I wasn’t either.
Kelly: But Trump heard, Trump heard David Duke in that ear piece, you know that. Cause he repeated back David Duke to Jake Tapper.
Huckabee: Look, here’s the one thing I think is important. Is Donald Trump a racist? I don’t think he is. Does Donald Trump support the KKK? Heavens, no. I don’t that anyone is seriously suggesting that he is giving a wink and nod to the KKK. They’re a deplorable, disgusting, abominable entity. I sometimes am amazed that they even still exist. I just don’t know of anybody who embraces them anymore except a handful of crazy people.
Kelly : But the very point you’re making is such a no-brainer is what makes his response to Jake Tapper so confusing to many.
Huckabee: That’s why I have to wonder, what did he hear? Did he misunderstand it? Just don’t know.
Kelly: Governor, you know what he heard. He repeated back David Duke and white supremacists right to Jake Tapper so you at least know he heard that.
Huckabee: Right and one of the things that has happened, he has disavowed Friday, he disavowed today. I don’t know why he didn’t say it as clearly on Sunday to Jake Tapper. I simply don’t know. But I think the issue is not why did one time out of a dozen did he stumble with that name, stumble with the question, the issue is why don’t people take all of the other very different, very clear answers he’s given and I don’t think this is the big issue going into Super Tuesday. I think there are important issues unfortunately we’ve lost all of them.
Kelly: If we’re dealing with a difference in perception toward some Americans versus others, then it’s obviously relevant. That’s what his critics would say. It comes on the heels of him criticizing a judge in a case in which Trump is being sued for allegedly defrauding people subscribing to his Trump University, in which case Trump just dismissed the judge in that case and a negative ruling for Trump saying, “Well, he’s Spanish. Or He’s Hispanic. That’s fine, but he’s Hispanic.” So he just got hit for making an odd reference to someone’s national origin a couple days before he said this. Do you find that problematic?