During the debate on Thursday night, the topic of race took center-stage, with both sides sticking to their usual talking points. Though measured, Biden virtually touted the message of Black Lives Matter activists while Trump touted his achievements on criminal justice reform. In one particularly amusing moment, the president even declared himself the “least racist person in this room.”
“Mr. President, you’ve described the Black Lives Matter movement as a symbol of hate. You’ve shared a video of a man chanting ‘white power’ to millions of your supporters. You’ve said that black professional athletes exercising their First Amendment rights should be fired. What do you say to Americans who say that kind of language, from a president, is contributing to a climate of hate and racial strife?” moderator Kristen Welker asked.
“You have to understand, the first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, they were chanting, ‘Pigs in a blanket,’ talking about police,” Trump said.
“That was my first glimpse of Black Lives Matter. I thought it was a terrible thing,” he later added. “As far as my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people. I am the least racist person in this room.”
When Welker pressed Trump on what he would say to Americans concerned about his statements, the president touted his list of accomplishments.
“I got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform, and opportunity zones. I took care of black colleges and universities,” he said. “I don’t know what to say. They can say anything. I mean, they can say anything. It makes me sad because I am the least racist person. I can’t even see the audience because it’s so dark, but I don’t care who’s in the audience. I’m the least racist person in this room.”