David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, denied Monday that he had formally endorsed Republican front-runner Donald Trump, but said he would vote for the real estate mogul and had encouraged others to do the same.
"When you say you endorse someone you're basically endorsing the person and basically people get the impression you're endorsing everything about them," Duke told Fox News Radio's "The Alan Colmes Show" Monday night. "I think that voting sometimes is not a question of endorsing someone, but sometimes you vote strategically."
Trump was criticized over the weekend by his opponents as well as by several prominent Republicans for failing to immediately repudiate Duke's support. Trump said Monday he had not understood the interviewer who first raised the question about Duke, and he did later repudiate him. "How many times do I have to continue to disavow people?" he said.
"I don't know if [Trump] ever studied me, my writings or what I've actually said," Duke said Monday.
When asked what he would say to Trump if given the chance, Duke responded, "I would say, 'Donald Trump, we hope you keep all your promises. You've spoken like no other candidate in recent history.'" The former Louisiana state representative and gubernatorial candidate did criticize Trump for what he described as "lip service to Israel."
Duke spoke on the eve of Super Tuesday, when 13 states hold presidential nominating contests to award 595 delegates in the Republican race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.