President Donald Trump insisted Sunday night that he was not a racist, after days of people pointing out that his recent comments on immigration were racist.
Trump reportedly called Haiti and multiple African nations “shithole” countries on Thursday during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers. The president slammed the idea of restoring certain protections for immigrants from such regions and asked why the United States didn’t take in more immigrants from countries such as Norway.
Politicians, reporters, celebrities and activists quickly condemned Trump’s remarks and called the president a racist. On Sunday, he fought back against that criticism while speaking with the White House press pool at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“No, I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview,” Trump told the reporters.
Although Trump has also denied making the “shithole” comment, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Friday that the president not only made the remark, but said “hate-filled things” repeatedly. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) gave a conflicting account on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, claiming the president did not use that “vulgarity” to describe Haiti and African countries.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) characterized the backlash as “unfair” to Trump and said that no one should “draw conclusions that he [Trump] didn’t intend.”
“You can’t have an immigration compromise if everybody’s out there calling the president a racist,” Paul said. “They’re actually destroying the setting ... in which anything meaningful can happen on immigration.”