(RESTRICTED POOL) – Fresh off a slew of Super Tuesday victories across the country, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump fought back on Tuesday (March 1) night against criticism by top GOP leaders on Capitol Hill over the billionaire businessman’s reluctance in an interview to disavow an endorsement of him by a known white supremacist.
The top 2016 candidate received an endorsement by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist group, and was asked about it on CNN on Sunday.
Trump on Monday told NBC’s “Today” show that his failure to do so was because of a faulty TV earpiece, saying: “You could hardly hear what he (the interviewer) was saying.”
The crossfire between Trump and establishment Republicans threatens to rip the party apart at a time when it will need to generate momentum behind a prospective nominee. That worries some Republican strategists looking ahead to the nominating convention in July.
U.S. networks projected Trump won six states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia.
Trump’s rival Ted Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, won his home state and neighboring Oklahoma, bolstering his argument he had the best chance to stop the controversial Trump. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the favorite of the Republican establishment, had yet to register a win but was leading in Minnesota as the votes were counted.