Despite mounting criticism for Donald Trump’s failure to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke’s support, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton once heaped praise for late Klan leader Sen. Robert Byrd.
In a video uploaded to the State Department’s official YouTube page on June 28, 2010, Clinton commemorated late Sen. Byrd by saying, “Today our country has lost a true American original, my friend and mentor Robert C. Byrd.” (RELATED: Trump’s Excuse For Not Disavowing KKK: ‘I Had A Lousy Earpiece’ [VIDEO])
When Byrd was 24-years-old, he joined the Klan because he was worried that during World War II, he might have to fight alongside “race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.” Bryd wrote those words in 1944 to Sen. Theodore Bilbo, a staunch segregationist. (RELATED: Sen. Robert Byrd Not Only Was A KKK Member But Led His Local Klan Chapter)
In Clinton’s commemoration of Byrd, she failed to mention the senator’s ties to the Klan, instead she claimed, “Senator Byrd was a man of surpassing eloquence and nobility. And I will remember him for many things, but most of all, for a heartfelt comment he made to me in the dark days following the attack on our country on 9/11. My state of New York was reeling and we were scrambling to provide support and relief. ‘Think of me as the third senator from New York,’ he said. And he meant it. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Byrd, who chaired the Appropriations Committee, New Yorkers and Americans got the help we needed. I will never forget his devotion and his friendship in that critical time.”
Clinton continued her praise of Byrd insisting, “It is almost impossible to imagine the United States Senate without Robert Byrd. He was not just its longest serving member, he was its hear, its soul, and its historian. From my first day in the Senate, I sought out his guidance, and he was always generous with his time and his wisdom. I admired his tireless advocacy for his West Virginia constituents, his fierce defense of the Constitution and the traditions of the Senate, and his passion for a government that improves the lives of the people it serves.”
“And as Secretary of State, I continued to rely on his advice and counsel. I’ve been grateful for the support he has provided as a leader of the Appropriations Committee to our diplomats and development workers as they serve our country and advance our interests all over the world,” Clinton said.
“Robert C. Byrd led by the power of his example, and he made all of us who had the honor of serving as his colleagues better public servants and better citizens. After more than five decades of service, he left an indelible imprint on the Senate, on West Virginia, and on our nation. We will not see his like again,” she continued.
While Byrd later renounced his affiliation of the KKK, calling it “the worsts mistake of my life,” the West Virginia Senator also voted “no” against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.