What he said:
“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was various groups, and I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke…. Now, I go, and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly, he talked about groups…. He also talked about groups. And I have no problem with disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group, Matt, if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke…. Now, if you look on Facebook, right after that, I also disavowed David Duke. When we looked at it, and looked at the question, I disavowed David Duke. So I disavowed David Duke all weekend long, on Facebook, on Twitter and obviously, it’s never enough. Ridiculous.”
Why it’s unethical:
- Trump claims to be honest and strong, but in fact he flunks a basic test of integrity and strength of character. He won’t admit when he is wrong, even when, in this case, it is obvious that he is. This is cowardice
- Trump, like fellow narcissist Barack Obama, refuses to be accountable for his own actions, failures and mistakes, and reflexively blames others. This time he is blaming technology and CNN, but the nothing in his response (I reviewed that here) suggests he couldn’t hear what Tapper was saying. (“Duke? Yes, I like Duke. Great college. Is KKK a fraternity there? I’m sorry, I’m having a little trouble hearing you…”)
- He is lying about the earpiece having anything to do with his answer. It was apparently bothering him, so Trump seized on that to be able to point to the video to bolster his alibi. This is practiced deceit—he never actually says he misunderstood the questions, but says he had a “bad earpiece” CNN gave him, and that he could hardly hear what Tapper was saying. He wants his loyal deniers assume that that he couldn’t hear.
- We now know that Trump did know about Duke, and spoke about him, on the record, years ago.
Summary: Trump lied, ducked responsibility, blamed an earpiece and CNN for his own poor response, and refused to own up to his gaffe, while insulting the intelligence of everyone who heard him.