The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Six times President Trump said he is the least racist person

President Trump said "I am not a racist" Jan. 14, and blamed Democrats for the delay in passing a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/The Washington Post)

Claims that President Trump is a racist aren't new. The president has a well-documented history of actions and statements that are viewed as discriminatory to people of color.

From being sued by the federal government in the 1970s for discriminating against black people in housing to assuming that a Latino judge could not do his job fairly because of his Mexican heritage to doubting that the country’s first black president was born in America, Trump has faced claims of prejudice and racism for more than four decades.

But Trump absolutely doesn't agree with that characterization. In fact, when the president reflects on where he falls on the spectrum between being racist and embracing diversity, Trump claims to be “the least racist person” . . . perhaps . . . ever.

Here are a few examples:

“No, no, I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.”

After reports last week that Trump called predominantly black nations such as Haiti and those in Africa “shithole countries” while asking why the United States does not get more immigrants from European countries, the president rejected the suggestion that he’s racist to the media at his Trump International Golf Club on Sunday.

“Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person.'' 

In February 2017, Trump was asked to comment on the increase in threats to America’s Jewish centers and rising anti-Semitism during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I am the least racist person that you have ever met.”

During the presidential campaign, as part of his black voter outreach efforts, Trump pointed to his friend Don King in a September 2016 interview with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, a black pastor in Detroit, to vouch that he is not a racist.

“Well, I am not a racist, in fact, I am the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered. I’ll give you an example.”

That's what Trump told The Post's Marc Fisher during the campaign when Fisher asked what the candidate might do to dispel the perception that his comments about a Mexican American federal judge were biased.

“It’s funny, I just got this, it was just sent to me by Don King,” Trump told Fisher, handing him a copy of an article from a black weekly newspaper. “Now, Don knows more about race than anybody. He owns this newspaper, you know — Don’s made a lot of money. He just sent this to me, look at this.”

“I don't think so. No. I don't think so,” he replied when Don Lemon asked Trump whether he's “bigoted in any way.”

Trump talked to CNN’s Don Lemon in June 2015 about claims that he is racist, shortly after announcing a proposal to suspend travel to the United States from predominantly Muslim countries.

“I am the least racist person that you have ever met,” then-candidate Trump told Lemon. “I am the least racist person.”

“Not at all. Probably the least of anybody you've ever met,” Trump told Barbara Walters when asked whether he was a “bigot.” 

“Because?” Walters replied in the 2015 interview with Trump.

“Because I'm not,” Trump said. “I'm a person that has common sense. I'm a smart person. I know how to run things. I know how to make America great again. This is about making America great again.”

While Trump may rank himself as the least-racist person ever, significant percentages of Americans are less convinced.

According to a YouGov poll conducted in the immediate aftermath after Trump’s “shithole” comments, 44 percent of respondents said they believe the president is racist.

With a majority — 56 percent — of Americans holding negative views on race relations in America, according to a Pew report, voters are looking to the president to be a leader in combating racism. But it seems like not only do most Americans disagree with Trump’s self-assessment on racial matters, they believe he is part of the problem. Six in 10 Americans say Trump's election has led to worse race relations in the United States.