“I am the least racist person in this room,” declared President Donald Trump, several times, during Thursday’s presidential debate with Joe Biden.
Trump’s remarks were made in response to debate moderator Kristin Welker’s description of him as fomenting racial discord:
WELKER: We’re going to continue on the issue of race. Mr. President, you’ve described the Black Lives Matter movement as a symbol of hate. You’ve shared a video of a man chanting, “white power” to millions of your supporters. You’ve said that black professional athletes exercising their First Amendment rights should be fired. What do you say to Americans who say that kind of language from a president is contributing to a climate of hate and racial strife?
TRUMP: Well, you have to understand, the first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, they were chanting, “Pigs in a blanket” — talking about police, pigs, pigs, talking about our police — “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.”
I said that’s a horrible thing, and they were marching down the street. And that was my first glimpse of Black Lives Matter. I thought it was a terrible thing. 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: What do you say to Americans who are concerned by that rhetoric?
TRUMP: I don’t know what to say. I got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform, and opportunity zones. I took care of black colleges and universities. I don’t know what to say. They can say anything. I mean, they can say anything.
Its makes me sad because I am the least racist person — I can’t even see the audience because it’s so dark, but I don’t care who’s in the audience — I’m the least racist person in this room.
Welker did not ask Joe Biden about the Black Lives Matter campaign’s neo-Marxist ideology, or policy prescriptions, or about the former vice president’s expressed support for the organization’s political goals.