14:28 GMT03 December 2020
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    Both President-elect Donald Trump's campaign staff and the North Carolina Republican party have condemned the Ku Klux Klan hate group's planned election celebration rally in the state.

    "We are disgusted and condemn this extremist ideology and associated actions in the strongest possible terms," North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement given to CNN November 11.

    In this Dec. 7, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during a rally coinciding with Pearl Harbor Day at Patriots Point aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
    © AP Photo / Mic Smith, File

    "These acts and thought processes are no reflection of the heartbeat of this great country and are counter to the efforts to make America great again. We stand with the Democratic Party in calling these out-of-state troublemakers to go home."

    Trump's campaign spokesperson, Hope Hicks, said on the same day, "Mr. Trump and his team continue to disavow these groups and individuals and strongly condemn their message of hate."

    The rally, planned for December 3, is being advertised by the Loyal White Knights of Pelham, North Carolina, described by the Anti-Defamation League as perhaps "the most active Klan group in the United States today." The same Anti-Defamation League publication also notes that the group has only perhaps 200 members.

    No further details on the rally, including exactly when and where it is to take place, have been revealed. The first public notice of the rally appeared on the group's website, which displayed a picture of Trump and the words "Trump = Trump's Race United My People" after the election. The information has since disappeared. 

    The Ku Klux Klan essentially endorsed Trump in early November, when it ran a full front page defense of the divisive GOP candidate’s message in its Crusader newspaper. (This was one of the only newspaper endorsements Trump received.)

    The campaign was not pleased with the endorsement. "Mr. Trump and the campaign denounces hate in any form," they responded in a statement. "This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign."

    Trump, however, was criticized earlier in his presidential bid when he would not immediately "unequivocally" condemn the hate group, saying instead he didn’t know who they were and would "have to look at the group." He has since blamed the unclear exchange, which occurred during a CNN interview, on a malfunctioning earpiece.


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