Ex-KKK Grand Wizard David Duke rushes to Trump's defense on Star Of David tweet

The Trump campaign continues to insist its attack on Hillary Clinton wasn't anti-Semitic while Duke applauded

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published July 5, 2016 2:46PM (EDT)

 (CBS News)
(CBS News)

In the midst of his latest controversy, Donald Trump apparently had little qualms allowing the former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan to fill the void left by his campaign as it stood silent to criticisms of anti-Semitism.

By now you've surely seen the graphic critical of Hillary Clinton that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate tweeted out over the holiday weekend, just as his rival was set to be grilled by the FBI for its investigation into email practices at the State Department. The meme shared in Trump's tweet featured a six-pointed star, a pile of cash and the words "most corrupt candidate ever" superimposed near Clinton's face.

Hardly the most subtle dogwhistle, Trump's tweet quickly drew criticism online before the Star of David symbol was quietly removed. But, not before ex-KKK leader David Duke noticed the change. Duke tweeted that despite the walk-back by the Trump campaign, he welcomed "the hidden hand":

Of course, while the Trump campaign continued to remain silent on the issue, news outlets discovered the image had been posted on an anti-Semitic, white supremacist message board 10 days earlier.

It was not until Monday afternoon that the Trump campaign finally issued a statement on the controversy.

"These false attacks by Hillary Clinton trying to link the Star of David with a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior, showing an inscription that says 'Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever' with anti-Semitism is ridiculous," Trump said in a statement, ignoring the origins of the image.

Later Monday evening, Trump's social media director Dan Scavino attempted to further defend the tweet.
"The social media graphic used this weekend was not created by the campaign nor was it sourced from an anti-Semitic site," Scavino said in a statement separate from Trump's. "It was lifted from an anti-Hillary Twitter user where countless images appear."
"The sheriff's badge -- which is available under Microsoft's 'shapes' -- fit with the theme of corrupt Hillary and that is why I selected it," Scavino added, before blaming the "dishonest media" for labeling the image a Star of David.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Anti-semitism David Duke Donald Trump Election 2016 Elections 2016 Star Of David Twitter Fail