Candidates vying for a Louisiana US Senate seat met on the debate stage in New Orleans on Wednesday night.
Among the candidates — which included Republican frontrunner John Kennedy and Democratic candidate Caroline Fayard — was former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke.
Duke is running as a Republican. He was added to the debate roster last week, after crossing the 5% polling threshold needed to attend.
The affair got off to a fiery start, when Fayard called Duke a bad guy who “slithered out of the swamp.” Duke, who is a self-avowed white-supremacist, took umbrage at the remark, saying “Yeah, I’m the bad guy because I defend the people of this country that made our country great,” loosely co-opting Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Duke invoked Trump’s name early and often during the debate, and compared himself to the GOP nominee while complaining that he is unfairly criticised for his controversial views.
“I will be Donald Trump’s most loyal advocate,” Duke said. Trump has repeatedly disavowed Duke’s support and that of a KKK publication that endorsed him this week.
The debate went off the rails entirely when Duke got into an extended shouting match with the moderator.
Watch the exchange below, starting at the 22:50 mark:
In defending some unsavoury remarks about Jews, Duke said “I’m not opposed to all Jews … there is a problem in America with a very strong, powerful, tribal group that dominates our media and dominates our international banking.”
He attempted to draw parallels between such groups and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, suggesting Clinton “should be getting the electric chair.”
The debate was held at Dillard University in New Orleans, a historically black liberal-arts school. Notably, the auditorium where the debate was held appeared to be mostly empty.
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