Donald Trump has claimed he is the “least racist person in the world”, in spite of his recent racist comments attacking politicians of colour and civil rights figures.
Mr Trump made the claim on Tuesday morning outside the White House, before boarding Marine One.
The comment comes as the president faces criticism from Democrats for racist attacks in recent weeks, which began with attacks on four liberal politicians of colour in the House of Representatives known as “the squad”.
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Since those initial attacks – telling representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib to “go back” where they came from – Mr Trump has lashed out at civil rights leader and congressman Elijah Cummings over the state of his district, which includes the City of Baltimore. Mr Trump said that Mr Cummings’ Baltimore district – which is predominantly black – is “rat infested”.
Most recently, Mr Trump attacked reverend Al Sharpton after the civil rights icon posted a photo of himself heading to Baltimore. The president called him a “con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. .. Hates Whites & Cops!”
Mr Trump’s comments Tuesday came as the president made his way south to Jamestown, Virginia, where is expected to deliver remarks to mark the 400th anniversary of the First Representative Legislative Assembly, also known as the House of Burgesses. That legislative body was the first assembly by English settlers in the new world.
The president’s attacks on “the squad”, Mr Cummings, and Mr Sharpton have served as a rallying point for his critics, who have noted that Mr Trump has not similarly attacked white politicians for urban blight and poverty in their district, among other issues.
And, in spite of Mr Trump's claims to the contrary, it appears as though a majority of Americans believe he is racist.
That's according to a new Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday, which found that 51 per cent of Americans believe he is racist, compared to 45 per cent who said they do not believe he is. That poll found that the two parties are pretty divided on the issue, with 86 per cent of Democrats saying they believe he is racist, compared to 8 per cent of Republicans. Meanwhile, 91 per cent of Republicans said he is not a racist, and just 9 per cent of Democrats said the same. Men were more likely to say Mr Trump is not racist, too, while a majority of women said he is racist.
During his remarks to reporters before boarding Marine One, Mr Trump said that black state legislators in Virginia who are planning on boycotting his appearance at the 400th anniversary event said they are going "against their own people". He also claimed that African Americans "love the job" he's doing and are "happy as hell" with his recent attacks on Baltimore and Mr Cummings. Meanwhile, that Quinnipiac poll found that a whopping 80 per cent of black Americans think Mr Trump is racist.