Elise Foley Immigration & Politics Reporter, The Huffington Post
Demonstrators with a ‘Dump Trump’ sign
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump ― the man who accused America’s first Black president of lying about his birthplace and called for banning Muslims from the country ― insisted Thursday that not only is he not a racist, but he’s actually “the least racist person you’ve ever met.”
Trump made the comment just before a rally in the swing state of Ohio. “Nineteen days out from the election, you’ve been labeled a racist, you’ve been called a sexist, how …” reporter Colleen Marshall, of Columbus’ WCMH-TV, began to ask.
At that point, Trump turned and started to walk away, saying, “Thank you very much.” But he stopped a moment later when she asked how he responded to those criticisms. “I am the least racist person you’ve ever met,” Trump said.
Trump abruptly ended a second interview with local media on Thursday when asked about the allegations of sexual assault against him. “I know nothing about that,” he told Columbus’ 10TV and again walked away from the reporter.
It’s impossible to really know what goes on in another person’s mind, but Trump has publicly demonstrated plenty of racist thinking ― enough to attract white nationalists, many of whom support his campaign.
He launched his bid for president by saying Mexico was sending rapists and criminals across the border.
He has stuck by his assertion that the Central Park Five, a group of four black men and one Latino man, were guilty of a notoriously violent rape in 1989, even though they’ve long since been exonerated. His pitch to black voters implies that all African-Americans live in abject poverty in “inner cities” riddled with crime. He supports stop-and-frisk policing despite its known problems with racial targeting.
He called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., only to amend it to a ban on people from certain countries, which still seemed to cover the Middle East. And the list goes on.
The charges of sexism also go on. Accusations of sexual assault specifically have multiplied in recent weeks after The Washington Post published a 2005 recording of Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent. More than a dozen women have come forward since and said he assaulted them. He has denied those allegations.
Trump has also made a habit of judging women by their attractiveness. Among many, many examples, he has mocked his accusers for their looks, insulted Republican primary opponent Carly Fiorina’s appearance, and allegedly sought to have female workers fired if they weren’t, in his view, pretty enough.
At Wednesday’s presidential debate, Trump called Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.” Yet even then, he denied that he harbored any sexism. “Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump said. “Nobody.” The audience in the room laughed.