Yesterday during his press conference in New Hampshire –- after the cable news networks cut to President Obama’s remarks regarding the release of his long form birth certificate — potential GOP presidential candiate Donald Trump spent some time extolling infrastructure investments made by China and other countries, suggesting the U.S. should follow suit. This prompted Les Trent, a reporter for Inside Edition, to ask Trump: “Isn’t that what President Obama tried to do with his stimulus package?”
Trump’s response to Trent, who is African American, was “Look, I know you are a big Obama fan.” Trent replied, “Why do you say that?”
Here’s the transcript of the exchange:
TRUMP:When was the last time – if you go to China, as an example – bridges being built, massive bridges. When is the last time we built a bridge in this country, other than a little toy.
LES TRENT: Isn’t that what President Obama tried to do with his stimulus package?
TRUMP: The President… Look I know you are a big Obama fan.The president doesn’t know what he’s doing.
LES TRENT: Why do you say that?
TRUMP: Because of your question. The President doesn’t know what he is doing.
In an interview with ThinkProgress about the exchange, Trent said, “I think race was a factor. … I’m just assuming, I mean I have no way of knowing that. But I just don’t understand why he said that to me and not anyone else.”
The incident appears to be part of a pattern of recent racially-tinged comments by Trump.
With additional reporting by Alex Seitz-Wald
Last night, on CBS Evening News, Face the Nation host and CBS correspondent Bob Schieffer criticized Trump’s recent statements regarding Obama’s college transcripts, saying race was Trump’s underlying motive:
“That’s just code for saying he got into law school because he’s black. This is an ugly strain of racism that’s running through this whole thing. We can hope that kind of comes to an end too, but we’ll have to see,” Schieffer said.
Trump responded today, saying he wasn’t suggesting anything about Obama’s race:
“That is a terrible statement for a newscaster to make. I am the last person that such a thing should be said about.”
“Affirmative action is out there. It’s a program that is available. But I have no idea whether it applies in this case. I’m not suggesting anything.”