A Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, column written by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel political reporter Daniel Bice questions the social media postings of Republican Wisconsin Assembly candidate David Armstrong, including quotes attributed to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
The column, which appeared Tuesday morning on the Journal-Sentinel website, also said that Armstrong had posted social media comments in favor of the continued use of the Confederate flag, as well as “likes” about QAnon group, which Wikipedia describes as a far-right conservative group alleging worldwide conspiracies against President Donald Trump.
In a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon, Armstrong said he is “not and never have been a supporter of the KKK or David Duke.”
Armstrong said he didn’t know Duke was in the video “until this controversy erupted.
“I clearly made the mistake of not fully watching it or realizing that David Duke made an appearance at the end of the video,” Armstrong added. “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 respect to the Confederate flag, Armstrong said he doesn’t own one and “never would,” but added that the flag “it is still a part of the history of our nation.”
Armstrong said he disagrees with those who wish to “erase” history.
“I believe we can learn from (history) and the times we failed or fell short of our ideals,” he added. “We are a work in progress. I am, too.”
Armstrong said he is at work on a press release later this week.
A Rice Lake resident and former member of the Rice Lake City Council, Armstrong works as executive director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation. Earlier this year, he filed for office as a candidate for the 75th District Assembly seat that will be vacated by incumbent Republican Romaine Quinn.
Quinn, a three-term incumbent, will not run for re-election.
Bice’s column includes alleged Armstrong social media posts dating back as much as five years, as well as criticisms from Armstrong’s Demoratic opponent, John Ellenson.
Armstrong and Ellenson will be candidates in the Nov. 3, 2020, election.