With the wave of his hand, President Trump dismissed a reporter’s question Monday about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) having recently called him a racist, saying: “Who cares?”
Trump also said he is unfamiliar with recent remarks by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in which he defended white nationalism.
The president was asked about the two situations separately before boarding Marine One at the White House as he prepared to depart for an event in New Orleans.
Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old congresswoman who has made a splash in her opening weeks on Capitol Hill, was asked during a “60 Minutes” segment this month whether she considers Trump a racist.
“Yeah. Yeah. No question,” she responded.
Asked to elaborate, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to “the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy,” among other things.
Asked about being called a racist by the congresswoman Monday, Trump first responded: “Who did?”
After the question was repeated, he waved his hand and said, “Who cares?”
Ocasio-Cortez later reacted on Twitter, writing: “I bartended for *years* in New York City. I understand guys like this like the back of my hand. We got under his skin.”
King, who won a ninth term in Congress in November, has been under fire for lamenting in an interview with the New York Times that the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” had become pejorative ones.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in the interview published last week.
Some Democrats have called for censuring King for his comments, while several Republican leaders have publicly criticized him.
On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said “action will be taken” against King, explaining on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that such language “has no place in America.”
In a tweet last week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, said that “these comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse.”
Asked about King’s comments Monday, Trump first responded: “Who?”
After the question was asked again, he said: “I haven’t been following.”