Rauner spokesman: `Governor believes David Duke is a racist’

Gov. Bruce Rauner

CHICAGO (AP) _ After fumbling the answer to a question about whether a former Ku Klux Klan leader is a racist, the campaign of Republican Bruce Rauner clarified the governor’s opinion of David Duke.

During a radio interview on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Rauner was asked if President Donald Trump was racist following reports he used vulgar language to refer to African nations. Rauner declined to answer, saying Trump’s alleged comments “has no place in our political conversation.”

When WVON-AM host Charles Thomas asked if Duke is a racist, Rauner would only respond that there is racism in our society.

On Tuesday, campaign spokesman Justin Giorgio said in a statement that Rauner “believes that David Duke is a racist.”

Democrats were quick to seize on what they characterized as Rauner’s attempt to “mince words.” Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for Democratic governor hopeful J.B. Pritzker, said Rauner “dodges even the most basic of questions to avoid giving Illinoisans the answers they deserve.”