After a black reporter asked President Donald Trump about his self-professed nationalism, he dismissed her inquiry as "racist."
“There are some people that say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric,” Yamiche Alcindor of the PBS Newshour had said.
“I don’t know why you’d say that,” the president replied. “That’s such a racist question.”
The president proceeded to express disbelief at Alcindor's question.
Oh, I don’t believe that,” Trump said. ”I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that. I don’t know — why do I have my highest poll numbers ever with African Americans? Why do I have among the highest poll numbers with African Americans? I mean, why do I have my highest poll numbers?”
"That’s such a racist question," he said again. "Honestly, I know you have it written down and you’re going to tell me. Let me tell you, that’s a racist question.”
Alcindor documented the exchange on her Twitter account:
Alcindor noted that she––as shown in the video footage above––followed up with a question "about his proposed middle class tax cut" because "that's what journalists do."
She added that she asked the question because even if the president "doesn't intend it, some see him as directly appealing to racists."
Other members of the press came to Alcindor's defense:
Trump referred to himself as a "nationalist" last month during a rally in which he denigrated Representative Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), who challenged Republican incumbent Ted Cruz's Senate seat.
“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” Trump said. “And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist.”
The term “nationalist” has become associated with the alt-right movement, which predominantly supports the president’s agenda and has regularly challenged for espousing white supremacist ideology.
Trump has defended those comments, saying it was meant as a contrast to "globalists" who place international interests before those of the United States.
"I love our country. I do," he told Alcindor. "You have nationalists. You have globalists. I also love the world. And I don't mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first. We have a lot of problems. But to say that, what you say is so insulting to me, it's a very terrible thing you said."