AUGUST 5, 2019 12:00:33President Donald Trump has weighed in on a controversy over the alleged use of racial epithets during a campaign rally in New Hampshire.
Speaking to supporters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Trump said he was not going to apologize for his remarks, and was not trying to hide his racism, according to a transcript of the speech provided to The Associated Press.
“I’m not a racist,” Trump said.
“My opponents say I’m a racist.
Trump had been criticized for using the term during a rally in February that drew some of the nation’s most conservative and conservative-leaning Republican lawmakers.
Trump was asked about the comments during a news conference on Monday.
“There are people that have been calling me a racist for years.
There are people who have been attacking my family for years,” Trump told reporters.
“You’ve got to be a good person, because that’s not who I am.”
The comments are a departure from the Republican front-runner’s approach to race relations and the treatment of minorities.
On Friday, Trump called on Republicans to stop attacking his family and instead focus on the fact that he is the president of the United States.
“I don’t think we’re going to be winning the presidency if we don’t come together, not just on race, but on a whole lot of other issues,” Trump added.
On Monday, the White House released a statement saying that Trump had “repeatedly called for racial reconciliation, addressed the issues facing African Americans, and offered a plan to end the systemic violence against African Americans.”
Trump has also been criticized on several occasions for his treatment of people of color.
In January, he took to Twitter to slam the parents of slain African American teen Michael Brown and his sister, Laquan McDonald, who were killed in police custody in Ferguson, Missouri.
“The parents of Laquin McDonald are being ripped apart for speaking out against police brutality and racism.
They are being vilified for their son’s death,” Trump tweeted.
He then tweeted a video of himself, Brown’s parents and McDonald, with a caption that read, “It is so sad when people do this to children, but not so sad for the children of these officers.”
Earlier this month, Trump also weighed in after the shooting of a black man by police in Minnesota.
Trump called for the officer to be fired, saying he should have fired for the crime of being black.
The AP’s David Morgan contributed to this report.