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Donald Trump compares Jewish charities to Ku Klax Klan

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has compared white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan to Jewish charities, a claim that the Anti-Defamation League called “obscene”.

Trump’s comments came on the MSNBC television station’s Morning Joe programme, after he had been criticised for not rejecting white supremacists’ support. “I don’t like to disavow groups if I don’t know who they are,” Trump said. “I mean, you could have Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in groups.”

The ADL criticised Trump’s comparison, noting that white power groups refer to black people as “mud people” and call Jews “Satanic”.

“It is obscene to even mention a Jewish organisation in the same breath as these white supremacist groups,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL. “Mr Trump needs to acknowledge that the rhetoric of these hate groups is appalling and does not belong in any political discussion.”

Having been previously condemned for rejecting the chance to distance himself from the Ku Klax Klan in an earlier interview — which Trump blamed on a faulty earpiece — Trump used the Morning Joe interview to try to do so. On Thursday, he called Duke a “bad person”. “I disavowed him,” Trump said. “I disavowed the K.K.K.”

Greenblatt said it was hard to understand why Trump seemed to find it difficult to make a clear-cut denunciation of the white supremacist group.

“It is hard to fathom how we can have a candidate who can be so verbose when it comes to denigrating other candidates, yet he finds himself tongue tied when it comes to the most racist and antisemitic group in the history of this country,” Greenblatt said.