File photo of David Duke, former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
David Duke, the former leader of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan (KKK), has launched his candidacy for the US Senate from the state of Louisiana, saying white people are threatened in America.
in an online video announcing his candidacy on Friday, Duke said that he hears echoes of his views in the rhetoric of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee.
"I'm overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I've championed for years," Duke said.
In February, Trump drew criticism for failing to quickly disavow support from Duke. He later rejected Duke’s endorsement after coming under intense pressure.
"I don't really care what Donald Trump says about me. I respect what he's doing," Duke said.
In his video, Duke said he believes in equal rights and respect for all Americans but "what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and heritage of European-Americans."
Duke, 66, said that white people were threatened in the United States and "European-Americans" need a politician to fight for their interests.
Duke's Senate candidacy comes as his state of Louisiana struggles with racial tensions after the police killing of an African-American man named Alton Sterling earlier this month and the revenge shooting deaths of three police officers by a black US military veteran.
Duke has called the Black Lives Matter movement that regularly organizes protests against the deaths of black people by police officers a "terrorist group."
Duke is a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the KKK. He was also a Louisiana state lawmaker and unsuccessful candidate for governor who was sentenced in 2002 to 15 months in prison for tax evasion and mail fraud.
Duke's Senate run drew a swift and strong rebuke from Republican officials and others.
The Republican Party of Louisiana called Duke a "felon and hate-filled fraud" who does not embody Republican values.
"I strongly denounce the racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism of David Duke. His views are a relic of ancient history and are repugnant to Louisianians," said Republican US congressmen Charles Boustany.

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