President Donald Trump defends himself in the wake of recent disparaging comments about Haiti and African nations, declaring that "I am not a racist."
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump defended himself Sunday in the wake of recent disparaging comments about Haiti and African nations, declaring that "I am not a racist."
Trump addressed the issue briefly as he arrived for dinner at his private golf club with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
Asked what he thinks about people who think he is racist, Trump said, "No, No. I am not a racist." He told reporters: "I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you."
Trump also denied making the statements attributed to him, but didn't get into specifics about what he did or did not say.
"Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?" he asked. "They weren't made."
Trump has been accused of using the word "shithole" to describe African countries during an Oval Office meeting last Thursday with a bipartisan group of six senators. The president also questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., according to people who were briefed on the conversation but were not authorized to describe the meeting publicly.
Trump also said in the meeting that he would prefer immigrants from countries like Norway instead.
The White House has not denied that Trump said "shithole" though Trump previously has pushed back on some depictions of the meeting.
A confidant of Trump's told The Associated Press that the president spent Thursday evening calling friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction on his inflammatory remarks. Trump wasn't apologetic and denied he was racist, instead blaming the media for distorting his meaning, said the confidant, who wasn't authorized to disclose a private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap