Image: David Duke outside the the House of Parliament in London in 1978.
Over the years, he went on to make an international name for himself, being associated with race hate and intense animus towards the Jewish people.
This Wednesday morning, Tyler Bridges and I discussed Duke’s rise to fame and fortune of sorts. He made a living peddling his and other people’s extremists views through contributions and book sales. Bridges, wrote the Rise of David Duke, a book published in 1995 and is now out with part 2 of the biography, appropriately titled, The Rise and Fall of David Duke.
SABLUDOWSKY: Let's move on in terms of David Duke he had a mentor early on and wouldn't you say, I mean I forget the guys name, but that's how he kind of got into where he is now isn't that am I correct about that?
BRIDGES: I never completely figured out why David Duke became obsessed with race, obsessed with Jews, but he did have a mentor who when he was you know already beginning to form those of you as a guy named Jim Lindsey who was I think it's fair to say he was a racist guy and this was due when Duke was really about late maybe 18 19 20 21 years old and Jim Lindsay ended up being murdered, nothing related to David Duke but from a young age David Duke was fascinated with the idea that the white race was the pure race and was responsible for all of the beauty and advances in society and it's very important that white people keep separate from black people, from brown people, and do believe that white people really prefer to be with whites and blacks prefer to be with blacks and Hispanics prefer to be with Hispanic. But it's the Jews through their controls of the media and the government in his mind that brings the racist together and that ends up two leading to impurities because of people getting together and making babies that are not just White.
SABLUDOWSKY: He had a homework assignment if I recall correctly, he had a homework assignment and that's what sort of spurred or at least prompted him to at least do some research and I think that's how we connected with Lindsay? I'm going back to 24 years
BRIDGES: He he had this homework assignment and this was about the mid-60's David was born in 1950 so he want to do some research and went to a group called The White Citizens Council which was basically the the Klan, without sheets and and he then found people that were able to nourish his budding racist views. The weird thing about Duka is where he got the anti-Semitism from, that's harder to understand. Obviously there was a lot of racism particularly in the 1960 as a time of civil rights movement and integration efforts in the South. How Duke became obsessed with Jews, and I think you know this Steve from your own research, that Duke's biggest concern, that his true true abiding excessive interest is with Jews. He think that is really the terrible influence, not not black people.
SABLUDOWSKY: Right, right, right, no question about that, now moving forward, 1994-2000, etc. Tell us about tell us about what readers can can read once they get your book?
BRIDGES: Again, when you and other people were at the barricades trying to fight against Duke during this political hay day and again in those elections, half the white people in Louisiana voted for him--he would never use the n-word, he stopped talking about Jews, he talked about his concern for high taxes, illegal immigration, minority set asides were bad, affirmative action was bad, quotas were bad and he really touched a nerve in the state of Louisiana, even across the country with frustrated whites and again, that's why I make that Donald Trump is doing that today. And after Duke lost the race for presidency, he barely got any support, he then was willing to then go back to his true passion trying to in his mind expose the influence of Jews. So we see that dude going back to his real roots in the 1990s and then in the years since then even while he ran he ran for office a couple more times in Louisiana. He lost the race of the Senate and he lost the race in Congress .
BRIDGES: But really, since about 1993-94, if you listen to him, he has a podcast that your viewers can listen to Internet radio you'll hear him mostly talk about Jews. You go to his website, it's mostly about Jews and again, I wanted to bring readers up to speed on exactly who this guy is because he continues to make news and again him and Trump so he can have a better understanding of him.
SABLUDOWSKY: So, he went to jail and after that he he he went to Russia and he became a "professor" and then after that he went to Iran and he gave his speech with the president of Iran at the time, am I correct, is that covered in the book?
BRIDGES: Duke indeed did plead guilty, he wasn't convicted he pled guilty to basically stealing money from his followers and one of things I thought I was important is that people remember that and end in the book I explained, I lay out in his own words--what he agreed to, that he had done. Now he will today say that he did not he wasn't guilty that he did that because he could not to get a fair trial and I show in the book that was not accurate on his part. But then after he got out, he decided to try to build more than a worldwide movement. Duke had always been wanting to spread the gospel internationally. He did spend time in Russia, he spent time in Iran, Italy, Austria he found various white nationalists in Russia who were sympathetic to his writings--have been republished in other languages and then he got his Doctorate from this University, I think it is in Ukraine.
SABLUDOWSKY: Did they teach in English or Russian? I'm just wondering how in the world-- he's a very smart guy, a very smart guy
BRIDGES: He is a very smart guy and I think that's important and that's one of the things that I talked about in the Rise and Fall of David Duke is how intelligent he is. There have been a lot of extremists, Klan members that wanted to gain a big name for themselves. Duke is the guy that succeeded and that requires a lot of intelligence, cleverness and ability to manipulate the media
SABLUDOWSKY: Yes, yes, no question about that