In a turn of events that would be bizarre in any other election year, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are both attempting to create a link in voters' minds between their opponent and the Ku Klux Klan.
Clinton brought up the KKK in her speech on Thursday, in which she accused Trump of handing a "national megaphone" to the "paranoid fringe in our politics." The same day, her campaign released an online ad in which self-proclaimed Klan members and white supremacists explained their enthusiasm for Trump. And on Friday, Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, reiterated the connection by declaring, "Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, Donald Trump values are not American values."
Trump wasted no time returning the accusation. On Saturday, he retweeted a post from Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, two African-American sisters who support his campaign, referencing Clinton's ties to the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.). Byrd was a member of the KKK in the 1940s and filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964, though for the bulk of his political career he vehemently repudiated his past Klan involvement. When he died in 2010, Clinton mourned Byrd as "a true American original, my friend and mentor."
Hardaway and Richardson told CNN they called attention to Byrd's history because "Donald J. Trump can't help who embraces his campaign but Hillary Clinton could've helped who she embraced." CNN reports neither campaign offered comment.