Hillary Clinton’s Link To Former KKK Leader Robert Byrd Surfaces Again After Charlottesville

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s ties to late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who admitted to creating a Ku Klux Klan chapter before entering public service, resurfaced Friday as Republican President Donald Trump deals with the fallout from his comments and stances on the Charlottesville, Virginia, protest.

Actor James Woods, a well-known supporter of Trump’s, tweeted a picture Friday of Byrd wearing a Klan outfit—which appeared to be fake—next to a picture of Byrd and Clinton exchanging a kiss back in July 2004.

“This man was a real leader of the #KuKluxKlan. He was Hillary Clinton's mentor. His name is Robert Byrd. #Byrd,” Woods tweeted.

The post harkened back to the accusation made by Trump against his former opponent during last year’s campaign. On August 27, 2016, Trump tweeted: “ " @ DiamondandSilk : Crooked Hillary getting desperate. On TV bashing Trump.  @ CNN , she forgot how she said a KKK member was her mentor. ”

Trump issued the tweet after Clinton accused him of courting white supremacists for taking hate groups mainstream, according to CNN.

Indeed, Byrd admitted that he started a Klan chapter in the 1940s, and entered political life admitting he had made a mistake.

"It has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me, and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one's life, career and reputation," Byrd wrote in his 2005 autobiography. "I displayed very bad judgment, due to immaturity and a lack of seasoned reasoning."

Before his death, in 2010, Byrd was the longest-serving senator in the country’s history. Throughout his career he made many attempts to amend for drawing in 150 members to the Klan, and for attaining the position of “Exalted Cyclops.”

Those attempts led the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People to issue a statement in praise of Byrd upon his death, and for Clinton, when she was secretary of state at the time, to comment on his passing. She started the video commemoration by saying, “Today our country has lost a true American original, my friend and mentor Robert C. Byrd.” Clinton also said that Byrd had been “the heart” of the U.S. Senate.

Still, unlike white supremacist and former Klan leader David Duke—who praised Trump following the president's press conference Tuesday—Byrd renounced his experience with the hate group.

Trump has drawn intense ire for stating that what he called the “alt-left” protesters in Charlottesville were equally to blame for the violence, and that the “beautiful” statues and monuments of Confederate leaders and figures around the country should not be taken down. Trump said that memorials to former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who each owned slaves, could be next.

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