Despite Donald Trump
's disavowal of the Ku Klux Klan
at last night's Republican debate, the current national director
of the Knights of the KKK
, Thomas Robb
, said that Trump is the best choice for president.
"As far as I’m concerned, Donald Trump is the pick of the litter," Robb told me by telephone today.
Last weekend, in a CNN interview, Trump declined to condemn
former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke
and white supremacist groups that have backed his candidacy. He later took to Twitter to say that he disavowed Duke. Last night at the debate, he said, "I totally disavow the Ku Klux Klan. I totally disavow David Duke."
Robb, who lives in Northwest Arkansas just outside of Harrison, took Duke's place as national leader of the Knights of the KKK in the 1980s. The organization now typically goes by the name Knights Party, and Robb took the title "national director" instead of "Grand Wizard." Robb said that he was not bothered by Trump's disavowal.
"The image of the Klan that is portrayed by the media is hateful people," Robb said. "What I suspect that they’re really disavowing is the image that most people have conjured in their minds when they hear about the Klan or the KKK."
Robb, who recently attended a Trump rally in Bentonville, voted for Trump, but he said that the Knights Party had no official endorsement. "Other members might feel otherwise and that's not something we dictate to our organization or our membership," he said.
Robb said that Trump's hardline position on immigration appealed to him. "The others say they can control the border … they’ve been talking about controlling the border for 50 years," he said. "The Knights Party started calling for a wall on our border back in the late '70s. It’s nice to see some other people catching up."
While he views Trump as the "pick of the litter," Robb said that he would back any Republican against Hillary Clinton in the general election.
"But I’m not sure we’ll gain much by some of them," he added. "Because I feel like the Republican Party has betrayed the platform of the old Republicans. I believe in an America-first policy. ... These guys are running for president of the United States, not president of a foreign country. Not president of Mexico or president of Afghanistan."
I asked Robb, who describes himself as a white nationalist, whether Trump was good for his movement.
"I do think he’s probably good for it," he said. "Anybody who raises issues that are of concern to where this country is going to be 10 or 20 years from now is a good thing."
Robb said that his organization — which cites stopping "white genocide" as its top goal on its website — was not hateful or violent. "I don’t hate black people, I don’t hate Mexicans, I don’t wish anybody harm," he said. "What bothers me is the hypocrisy that when a black man can say he’s proud of being black, people think that’s wonderful, but if a white man says he’s proud of being white, that’s racist. I find that appalling."
"We believe in loving our heritage, loving our culture, loving our people," Robb said. "We’re concerned about the demographic shift occurring in this country. We see a nation that is going to be less than 50 percent white in less than 20 years. Culturally and morally and spiritually, we're already a huge minority. The demographics are slowly changing. I think that’s alarming to a lot of people."
Robb said that many white people in America "no longer identify with what America has become" and "feel like a stranger in their own country."
"This is fueling the anger in this country, and I think this is what we’re seeing in this election," he said.