US President Donald Trump claimed he is “the least racist person in the room” during the final presidential debate on Thursday, October 22 (Friday, October 23, Manila time).
Trump made the claim during discussions on the issue of race.
“I think I have great relationships with all people. I am the least racist person in the room. I can’t even see the audience because it’s too dark. But I don’t care who’s in the audience,” Trump said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden then sarcastically referred to Trump as "Abraham Lincoln," the former Republican president who Trump keeps bringing up in debates.
Of Trump, Biden said: “'Abraham Lincoln' here is one of the most racist presidents in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire, every single one. This guy has a dog whistle as big as a fog horn.”
Biden then cited Trump’s previous reference to Mexicans as rapists, as well as Trump’s Muslim ban early in his presidency.
Trump’s pronouncement at the debate is in stark contrast to his statements and policies. (READ: Trump: A history of inflammatory and ‘racist’ statements)
Well before he opened his bid for the White House in 2016, Trump targeted the African-American background of Barack Obama, suggesting that the Hawaii-born president was really born outside the United States.
In 2011 he suggested Obama was secretly a Muslim – another group among his regular targets.
Trump also repeatedly slammed immigrants and asylum-seekers, especially those coming from Central America, and made it hard for them to seek refuge in the US. (READ: Lost and rejected, US asylum seekers find refuge in Mexico shelter)
After becoming president, he defended his border policies by calling migrants "bad people."
"You wouldn't believe how bad these people are – these aren't people, these are animals," he had said.
In a private January 2018 White House meeting, Trump also made it clear that he preferred migrants from white Western European countries. – with reports from Agence France Presse / Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org