RICE LAKE — Republican candidate for State Assembly Dave Armstrong is continuing to get media attention for his social media activity.
On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a story headlined “GOP candidate posted video featuring ex-KKK leader David Duke and tweets in support of Confederate flag.”
The article spotlights some of Armstrong’s tweets from 2015. According to the article, “On July 10, 2015, Armstrong tweeted out a video on ‘slavery’s dirtiest secrets exposed’ featuring former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. In it, Duke makes the dubious claim that Blacks are more likely than whites to have ancestors who owned slaves in antebellum America. This, Duke claimed, undercuts arguments used to justify ‘discrimination against whites’ today.’”
Armstrong ended his tweet on the video by asking, “Apologies are due to who by whom?” Around that same time he posted three tweets in support of the Confederate flag.
In response to a Chronotype email inquiry, Armstrong issued the following statement:
“The first thing I would like to make abundantly clear is that I am not and never have been a supporter of the KKK or David Duke, in any way, shape or form. In fact, I didn’t even know David Duke was in the video until this controversy erupted. Duke and the KKK are reprehensible and have no place in our society.
“I don’t recall exactly where I ran across the video more than five years ago, but I clearly made the mistake of not fully watching it or realizing that David Duke made an appearance at the end of the video. I also was not aware of the context surrounding its creation or who originally posted the original video. Re-watching it, most of the video is a clip from a historical documentary on PBS, but the content that appears at the end is unacceptable. I apologize for inadvertently sharing this video without knowing who was in it and who published it. It was a mistake on my part — one I hope and pray my community will have the grace and understanding to forgive.
“With regards to the flag tweets brought up in the story, the debate on this topic has been going on for years. While I don’t own one or fly one and never would, it is still a part of the history of our nation, and there are some who believe it represents one thing and others who believe it represents something else.
“Instead of simply erasing everything we disagree on or don’t like, I think it’s important to have an ongoing discussion as we work to improve society for everyone. As a matter of principle, I am generally opposed to the idea of cancel-culture. This is a great nation. Rather than erase our history, I believe we can learn from it and the times we failed or fell short of our ideals. We are a work in progress. I am too. “
On Sept. 6 Armstrong was featured in a national Associated Press story titled, “QAnon conspiracy emerges in some state legislative races.”
Armstrong told The Associated Press that he finds core aspects of the conspiracy credible, but not all of it.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever know the answer to that, nor can we prove it,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing with QAnon is you can’t prove any of it.”
QAnon is the name of a far-right conspiracy theory that believes there is a deep state plot, slowly being exposed online by an anonymous leader named Q, against President Donald Trump. A major tenet of the theory is that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring. QAnon followers believe that this clique includes top Democrats including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George Soros, as well as a number of entertainers and Hollywood celebrities.
John Ellenson, Armstrong’s Democratic opponent for the seat, said it would be “dangerous” to elect Armstrong because he “plays in conspiracies and not the truth.”