US President Donald Trump declared, yet again, that he’s the “least racist person” while responding to a question on race in America during the final presidential debate on Thursday opposite Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In making his statement to Kristen Welker, the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate since 1992, Trump attempted to backpedal on his hateful rhetoric toward Black Americans.
Welker challenged Trump for calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “symbol of hate,” for tweeting a video of a Florida supporter chanting “white power” and for slamming Black athletes for exercising their First Amendment rights, asking him what he has to say to people who argue that his comments are contributing to a climate of racial violence.
Trump claimed that his “first glimpse” of Black Lives Matter “was a terrible thing,” citing a 2015 protest march in which some involved shouted “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” about police officers.
That protest, held by a Black Lives Matter group in St. Paul, Minnesota, was “an independent entity not affiliated with the national Black Lives Matter organisation,” as reported by CNN, and there’s “no evidence the chant has been used by the national organisation, by any Black Lives Matter groups in the New York City area, or by Black Lives Matter activists anywhere outside Minnesota.”
Continuing his response to Welker’s question, Trump offered the jaw-dropping comment: “As far as my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people. I am the least racist person in this room.”
Welker continued to press Trump, asking again what he says to Americans who are concerned by his words and actions. He avoided the question, instead saying he didn’t “know what to say” and that people “can say anything” about him.
“It makes me sad because I am the least racist person. I can’t even see the audience because it is so dark, but I don’t care who’s in the audience. I am the least racist person in this room,” he reiterated.
Trump has declared he’s the “least racist person” before, most recently in 2019 when he said he was the “least racist person in the world.” But this boast was particularly egregious for many viewers, who couldn’t help but note the significance of him saying that directly to Welker:
Trump had been bashing Welker to the media before the debate, and he called her “extraordinarily unfair” during a rally last week in Wisconsin. Just days later, he described her as “a radical left Democrat, or whatever she is” and even claimed that she’d been “screaming questions at me for a long time. She’s no good.”
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