White House says Trump isn’t racist because he had a TV show

The Trump team also falls back on the claim that people secretly begged him for stuff, therefore their criticism is moot.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to reporters on Monday.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to reporters on Tuesday. CREDIT: MSNBC screenshot

Facing continued criticism of President Donald Trump’s latest racist remarks, his press secretary offered a new defense of her boss on Tuesday — using a technique straight out of Trump’s playbook.

A reporter asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) suggestion on Monday that if Trump is really the “least racist person,” he should show it by making a deal to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She responded by suggesting that Trump could not be racist because his critics and others have embraced him in the past.

“I think that is an outrageous claim. And frankly I think if the critics of the president were who he said he was [sic], why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV? Why did Chuck Schumer and all of his colleagues come and beg Donald Trump for money? If [he] is who they want to try to portray him as, why did they want to, you know, be with him for years and years in various activities, whether it was events and fund-raisers and other things?”

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The idea that someone cannot be a racist because they once had a TV show is laughable on a number of fronts. Indeed, several prominent television personalities have been fired from their positions after their racist views and comments have come to light, including former Fox News co-host Bob Beckel, former Food Network star Paula Deen, and former MSNBC shock-jock Don Imus. Many of Trump’s most obviously racist views — including that Mexicans are “rapists” and criminals, that an American judge could not impartially hear a case against his Trump University because he is Mexican-American, his calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States, his deriding of a U.S. Senator with the nickname “Pocahontas,” and his recent comments about Africans and Haitians — were revealed after Trump left his Celebrity Apprentice job and became a politician.

Sanders’ claim that Chuck Schumer and “all of his colleagues” begged Trump for money is quite an exaggeration. Though Trump donated campaign funds to Schumer and other Democrats as recently as 2010, only a handful of current Democratic senators were recipients.

Is a typical Trump technique to accuse any critic of having secretly begged him for stuff. He has made the accusation previously about Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, Fox News Channel’s Dana Perino, his now-Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Iowa anti-LGBTQ activist Bob Vander Plaats, National Review writer Brent Bozell, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, among others.