CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – In a race in which controversy has been commonplace, the final weekend before the Super Tuesday primaries certainly did not stray from that pattern. Republican front-runner Donald Trump was- as he often has been- at the center of it all, both for things that he said, and things that he did not say.
On Sunday, Trump was heavily criticized by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz for the billionaire businessman’s response to questions about an implicit endorsement from white supremacist David Duke.
Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, had encouraged his radio listeners on Wednesday to volunteer for Trump and said “voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.”
When questioned about whether or not he would disavow Duke, Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he knew nothing about Duke. Trump and his campaign later said that he does indeed disavow Duke, and had said as much during a news conference two days prior to the CNN interview.
Cruz and Rubio both pounced on the situation, saying that David Duke and the KKK have no place in the Republican Party. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted “America’s first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hatemonger who refuses to condemn the KKK,” something that was retweeted by the rival campaign of Hillary Clinton.
On NBC’s Today show Monday morning, Trump said that he had been given a bad earpiece, and did not properly hear Tapper’s questions.
Aside from the Duke controversy, the race got even more personal over the weekend. Rubio, who Trump has been referring to as “Little Rubio” and a “featherweight” due to his short stature, lashed out against Trump over the size of the billionaire’s hands. “You know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio said, followed by laughter and some gasps from the audience. “You can’t trust them!”
Trump has questioned Rubio’s electability, saying that he (Trump) is well ahead of Rubio in the senator’s home state of Florida, adding he believes Rubio could not get elected “dog catcher” there.
Voters in several states, including Massachusetts, go to the polls on Tuesday.