President Donald Trump finally wants to clear the air.
Trump said Sunday "I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview. That I can tell you," giving the statement to White House pool reporters at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida Sunday night.
While that would have previously seemed to be an odd quote, Trump's claim was in response to major pushback he's received since he reportedly called several countries (including Haiti, El Salvador and some nations in Africa) "shithole countries" last week. The Washington Post reported that he made the comments during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers to come to a deal on the visa lottery.
In addition to that quote, Trump also stated that he never made the remarks he is reported to have said, as he told reporters "Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? They were not made." That most recent denial echoes this tweet he posted on Friday, though it seems to ignore the quotes on the subject by "various senators":
Lawmakers who were actually in the room have differed on what they say they heard. And their ears were (not shockingly) divided along party lines...for the most part. Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) called the reports a "gross misrepresentation" of what Trump said, while denying that he used the word "shithole." Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) echoed that by putting his name on a joint statement with Perdue's where he said, in not-so-very strong words, "We do not recall the President saying these comments specifically." In contrast to that, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) relayed that the remarks as reported were accurate despite Trump's denial. Still, there's a reason the caveat "for the most part" was linked above, as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called media reports on the quote "basically accurate."
It's not like it's so far-fetched.