Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton declined an offer from The New York Times‘ Julie Turkewitz to chat about his great-grandfather, Benjamin Stapleton, who was the Mayor of Denver and a KKK leader in the 1920s.

Instead, Stapleton issued a one sentence statement, “I am focusing on the future.”

But, as Turkewitz and the Colorado Times Recorder pointed out, he was more than happy to talk about his great-grandfather when he first ran for public office in 2009.

As Turkewitz reported:

Mr. Stapleton, the candidate for governor, once embraced his great-grandfather, making Benjamin’s Stapleton’s civic work a top reason to elect him treasurer.

“My great-grandfather served five terms as Denver’s mayor in the 1920s, in the 1930s, in the 1940s,” he said in a 2009 campaign ad, ticking off the elder Stapleton’s accomplishments — building the airport, reinvigorating the park system. “I’m really proud of my family’s public service.”

But as residents have become more aware of his family’s ties to the Klan, Mr. Stapleton has had to tread more carefully, mostly dropping mentions of his great-grandfather from his campaign.

So Stapleton was once not only eager to talk about Benjamin Stapleton, he featured him in a 2009 political advertisement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N52wL_3eRT4

You’d think Stapleton would be eager to explain why he’s not talking about his great-grandfather anymore.

You’d think he’d want to explain on the New York Times’ big platform how he’s changed, how he’s become more sensitive, and why.

You’d think he’d want to, at the very least, sympathize and try to connect with community members, including Republicans, who are concerned about his family’s KKK legacy.

But no.

When the New York Times knocks on his door, Stapleton says he’s thinking about the future, instead of helping our community understand how we got to where we are–and who the man who wants to be our governor is.