Rogelio V. Solis/AP
- President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to say "I’m the least racist person in the world."
- He reiterated that statement on Tuesday as he departed to attend an event in Virginia, as well as during an interview with C-SPAN journalist Steve Scully.
- Trump’s claims about not being racist come after weeks of criticism against lawmakers of color and the city of Baltimore.
- Just over half of the US believes Trump is racist, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.
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Is — or is not — the president of the United States a racist?
That is the question vexing the nation after the Democratic-led House voted earlier this month to condemn Trump’s "racist comments" against four freshman Democratic lawmakers of color, known as the "Squad." Specifically, he said that they should "go back" to the "totally broken" countries they’re from, even though they are all US citizens and elected representatives.
An energized Trump base latched onto the president’s rhetoric, chanting "send her back," at a July 17 rally in Greenville, North Carolina, in reference to Dem. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The president initially claimed he disavowed the chants, but then reversed his stance, calling the chanters "incredible patriots."
The president also waged a series of attacks this past weekend against Dem. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and his majority-black district, including Baltimore, which he described as a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" where "no human being would want to live."
Following the attacks on Omar and Cummings, several world leaders — including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and European Council President Donald Tusk — condemned Trump’s comments.
On Tuesday, Trump offered his take on the issue, saying "I’m the least racist person there is in the world" as he departed to attend an event to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first legislative assembly in Virginia. He reiterated that statement during an interview with C-SPAN journalist Steve Scully, as well as in a Wednesday tweet that also attacked CNN’s Don Lemon over a question he asked during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate.
Specifically, Lemon asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar about Trump voters who "prioritize the economy over the president’s bigotry."
"There are people that voted for Donald Trump before that aren’t racist; they just wanted a better shake in the economy. And so I would appeal to them," Klobuchar responded. "But I don’t think anyone can justify what this president is doing. Little kids literally woke up this weekend, turned on the TV, and saw their president calling their city, the town of Baltimore, nothing more than a home for rats. And I can tell you, as your president, that will stop."
In fact, contrary to what Trump claims, a new Quinnipiac poll found that more than half of Americans believe that Trump is racist. Some of the findings of the poll:
- 46% of white people said Trump is racist, while 50% said he is not.
- 80% of black people said Trump is racist, while 11% said he is not.
- 55% of Latino people said Trump is racist, while 44% said he is not.
During Tuesday’s interview, Scully pressed Trump on his remarks about Rep. Cummings and his district. The president shrugged off accusations of racism, countering "they use it almost when they run out of things to criticize you. They say, ‘he’s a racist, he’s a racist.’"
"I think the word has really gone down a long way because everybody’s called a racist now," Trump said. "Her own party called Nancy Pelosi a racist two weeks ago. The word is so overused. It’s such a disgrace."
According to a separate Quinnipiac poll released Monday, Trump has a 6% approval rating and 84% disapproval rating with black voters.
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