This post has been updated.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Amid an early Sunday morning retweeting spree, Donald Trump shared this quote with his nearly 6.5 million Twitter followers: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep."
The quote was originally tweeted by the account of @ilduce2016 and attributed to Trump. The proper attribution: Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist dictator.
The Twitter account is a satirical one. The profile photo features Mussolini with a head of Trump-style hair, and the account has tweeted nearly 2,000 Mussolini quotes attributed to @realDonaldTrump, along with the hashtag #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
The account was started by two staffers at the gossip website Gawker, Ashley Feinberg and Adam Pash, who created a Twitter bot late last year that would post Mussolini quotes attributed to Trump in hopes that the candidate would retweet one of them, according to an article posted on the site on Sunday morning and linked to from the parody account.
"We set a trap for Trump," the article states. "We came up with the idea for that Mussolini bot under the assumption that Trump would retweet just about anything, no matter how dubious or vile the source, as long as it sounded like praise for himself."
Why would Trump retweet something like this? The question came up during an interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning.
"That's a famous Mussolini quote, you retweeted it," host Chuck Todd said. "Do you like the quote? Did you know it was Mussolini?"
"Chuck, it's okay to know it's Mussolini. Look, Mussolini was Mussolini," Trump responded. "It's a very good quote, it's a very interesting quote, and I know it... I know who said it. But what difference does it make whether it's Mussolini or somebody else? It's certainly a very interesting quote."
Todd cut in to note that "Mussolini is a known fascist" and to ask Trump whether he wants to be associated with a fascist.
"No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes," Trump said. "And people, you know, I have almost 14 million people between Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all of that. And we do interesting things. And I sent it out. And certainly, hey, it got your attention, didn't it?"
Todd acknowledged that the tweet was trending on Twitter.
This is not the first time that Trump has faced questions about his retweets. Last month he retweeted a message from a Twitter account with the name @WhiteGenocideTM, and on Saturday he retweeted a message from an account with this in its bio: "#WhiteGenocide is real."
This week, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke announced that he supports Trump and that voting against him is "treason to your heritage." The Anti-Defamation League has called on Trump to publicly condemn Duke's racism, and on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning, host Jake Tapper asked Trump whether he would do so.
"Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke. Okay?" Trump said. "I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know. I mean, I don't know. Did he endorse me? Or what's going on because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about."
"But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is — even if you don't know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you," Tapper said. "Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don't want their support?"
Trump continued to say that he didn't know which groups Tapper was referring to and that he wouldn't "condemn a group that I know nothing about." Trump asked for a list of the groups.
Tapper suggested one: "The Ku Klux Klan?"
Trump again said that he doesn't know Duke or anything about him.
This isn't the first time Trump has been asked about the white nationalists who support his candidacy, and he often says that he disavows them. During a Friday news conference in Texas, he was asked about Duke and responded: "I didn't even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? Okay, all right. I disavow. Okay?"
Early Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted a video of that comment with this comment: "As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke — I disavow."