David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, announced Friday that he would run for the US Senate in Louisiana.
“I’m proud to announce my candidacy for United States Senate,” he said in a video posted to YouTube. “I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans. However, what makes me different is I also demand the respect for the rights and the heritage of European-Americans.”
He added: “Thousands of special-interest groups stand up for African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Jewish-Americans, etcetera, etcetera. The fact is that European-Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate – one man in the Congress who will defend their rights and heritage.”
Duke said lawmakers “must stop the massive immigration and ethnic cleansing of the people whose forefathers created America” and touted his opposition to “free trade without fair trade.” Duke, who has also raised eyebrows in the past by denying that elements of the Holocaust took place, also argued for “total campaign finance reform” and said it was time to “break up the anti-American media conglomerates.”
The former KKK leader, who left the Klan in 1980, citing its violent nature, also offered praise for GOP nominee Donald Trump.
“I am overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years,” he said. “My slogan remains America First.”
Duke, who describes himself as a “racial realist,” said “America must have at least one man in the Senate” who will “never surrender” on the issues he stands for.
“The time is now,” he said. “The revolution is coming in the United States of America.”
Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana announced last year that he would not run for reelection. Duke is a registered Republican, but the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said on Twitter that the group “will not support” his candidacy.
We will not support David Duke. Several GOP candidates in LA will have a great impact on our country. He is not one of them. #LASEN
— Ward Baker (@WardBaker) July 22, 2016
Duke’s Senate candidacy comes as Louisiana grapples with issues of racial tension between citizens and the police. Three police officers were shot and killed Sunday when a man ambushed them in Baton Rouge. Earlier this month the killing of a black man named Alton Sterling by the police there sparked protests across the US.