Donald Trump is severely misunderstood. Nearly every time he talks about women or minorities, most people think he’s saying something sexist or racist. Then, the Republican presidential candidate is forced to clarify that the almost surely racist or sexist thing he said was not, in fact, racist or sexist.
It happened again on Thursday night. When a man at a New Hampshire Rally asked him when the country would be able to “get rid of” Muslims, Trump responded in a way that left a lot of people convinced he had just supported bigotry. But that was not the case, at least according to his campaign.
Here are four times during this campaign season that Donald Trump insisted he didn’t say the racist or sexist thing we all thought he said.
On getting rid of Muslims: ‘We’re going to be looking at that.’
Trump came under fire Thursday night when a man at his New Hampshire rally asked him a question about Muslims.
The man said, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.” After falsely asserting that President Obama is also a Muslim and “not even an American,” the man got blunt: “But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of ‘em?”
Trump responded vaguely, but tellingly. He didn’t bristle at the man’s suggestions, nor did he correct his assertions about Obama’s citizenship and religion. “A lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there, we’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things,” Trump said.
Afterward, Trump’s campaign insisted that he was referring to religious liberty. Then, the campaign pivoted, saying Trump was referring solely to Muslim “training camps.”
Now NEW response: "To be clear, Mr. Trump's response to the question regarding training camps in this country was we will look into it."
— Kailani Koenig (@kailanikm) September 18, 2015
On Megyn Kelly: ‘She had blood coming out of her whatever.’
Trump faced tough questioning during the first Republican presidential debate from Fox News host Megyn Kelly about his tone toward women. Afterward, Trump was not happy. Appearing on CNN, he said that Kelly had “blood coming out of her whatever,” seemingly referring to her period.
Trump later denied that his comment was about Kelly’s period, saying “only a sick person” would derive that meaning from his remarks.
On Carly Fiorina: ‘Look at that face!’
In a recent Rolling Stone profile, Trump seemed to insult the physical appearance of former business executive Carly Fiorina, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for president . “Look at that face!” Trump is quoted as saying. “Would anyone vote for that?”
Fiorina, however, was not convinced. “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” she deadpanned at Wednesday’s debate.
On Mexican immigrants: ‘They’re rapists.’
Trump actually kicked off his campaign by saying a racist thing that he later defended as not really racist.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people who have lots of problems, and they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.”
There’s been some dispute over whether Trump actually said “they’re rapists” or “their rapists” — ie, that Trump may have not have been implying that all Mexicans are rapists. But Trump never actually clarified which one he meant. Instead, he doubled down on the comments while insisting that he was not being racist.
“I love Mexican people,” he later said. “I have a tremendous relationship. I also respect Mexico.”
In an interview with CNN regarding his remarks about Mexico and rapists, Trump told Don Lemon that he meant every word he said.
“Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don! I mean somebody’s doing it! Who’s doing the raping?” he asked. “Who’s doing the raping?”