'The time is now': Former KKK leader David Duke announces candidacy for US Senate

David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, announced Friday that he will run for US Senate in Louisiana.

“I’m proud to announce my candidacy for United States Senate,” he said in a video posted to YouTube. “I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans. However, what makes me different is I also demand the respect for the rights and the heritage of European Americans.”

He added: “Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Jewish-Americans, etcetera, etcetera. The fact is that European-Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate —  one man in the Congress who will defend their rights and heritage.”

Duke said lawmakers “must stop the massive immigration and ethnic cleansing of the people whose forefathers created America” and touted his opposition to “free trade without fair trade.” Duke, who has also raised eyebrows in the past by denying elements of the Holocaust took place, also argued for “total campaign finance reform” and said it was time to “break up the anti-American media conglomerates.”

The former KKK leader, who left the Klan in 1980, citing its violent nature, also offered praise for GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“I am overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years,” he said. “My slogan remains America First.”

Duke, who describes himself as a “racial realist,” said “America must have at least one man in the Senate” who will “never surrender” on the issues he stands for.

“The time is now,” he said. “The revolution is coming in the United States of America.”

Current Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, announced last year that he would not run for reelection. It wasn’t clear if Duke was running on a party line.

Duke’s candidacy for the US Senate comes as the state of Louisiana grapples with issues of racial tension between citizens and police. Three officers were shot and killed Sunday when a man ambushed officers in Baton Rouge.

NOW WATCH: Watch the RNC audience boo Ted Cruz for not endorsing Trump

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.