WASHINGTON — President Trump doesn’t seem bothered that a congresswoman from his hometown thinks he’s a “racist.”
As he prepared to leave the White House on his helicopter Monday morning, Yahoo News asked Trump what he thought of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., calling him a racist. Trump indicated he wasn’t aware of her remarks.
“Who did?” he asked.
Told again that Ocasio-Cortez had called him a “racist,” Trump brushed off the comments with a wave of his hand.
“Who cares?” said Trump.
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) January 14, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez, whose office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, first called Trump a “racist” in a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper that aired earlier this month. In that conversation, the congresswoman described some of the president’s language as “historic dog whistles of white supremacy.” Ocasio-Cortez specifically alluded to Trump’s response to a violent 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., where he said later that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
“When you look at how he reacted to the Charlottesville incident, where neo-Nazis murdered a woman, versus how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it’s night and day,” she said.
The White House responded Jan. 7 with a statement to 60 Minutes saying that Ocasio-Cortez’s “sheer ignorance on the matter can’t cover the fact that President Trump supported and passed historic criminal justice reform” and noted the president has also “repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry in all forms.”
Ocasio-Cortez fired back with a tweet on Jan. 8 where she doubled down on her characterization of Trump as “racist.”
“The President defended Neo-Nazis who murdered a woman in Charlottesville. The Dept of Justice sued him for not renting to Black tenants.He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans ‘rapists.’ He banned Muslims. The President is racist. And that should make you uncomfortable,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman in Congress when she was sworn in earlier this month. She won her seat representing the New York boroughs of the Bronx and Queens, where Trump was born, after pulling off a stunning upset against veteran Democrat Joe Crowley.
Since her victory, Ocasio-Cortez has made headlines with a slew of progressive positions, including calling for increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans and a “green new deal” to address climate change. Her critical comments about rivals on both sides of the aisle have also attracted attention.
As he left the White House on Monday, Trump was also asked about Iowa Rep. Steve King, another Republican who has recently been branded a racist.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in an interview with the New York Times published last week. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Trump appeared confused when first asked for his response to King’s comments.
“Who?” Trump asked.
After Yahoo News reiterated that King had made comments about white supremacy, Trump said he was not familiar with the remarks.
“I haven’t been following,” the president said.