Instead of apologizing for promoting a hate group, Trump bragged about how it was his way of fighting terrorism.
In late November, Trump retweeted a series of viciously anti-Muslim videos from a racist British hate group, which earned him a sharp rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May and a predictable defense from Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Whether its a real video, the threat is real,” Sanders said at the time.
In a much-hyped interview with British journalist Piers Morgan, Trump spent several minutes and 427 words echoing that lie, and vigorously defending the substance of his racist tweets.
Morgan asked Trump what he knew about the group “Britain First” when he fired off those tweets.
“I know nothing about them, and I know nothing about them today other than I read a little bit,” Trump said. “Perhaps it was a big story in the UK, but in the United States it wasnt a big story.”
Trump would repeat both of these claims ad nauseam over the next several minutes, even though the tweets were widely covered in the United States and his own press secretary addressed them.
“When you do your own tweeting or you do your own social media, its fine,” Trump said. “When you do those retweets, they can cause problems, because you never know whos doing it to start off with.”
Morgan’s and Trump’s focus on Britain First badly misses the point, however, because the tweets themselves were inherently racist, not to mention false.
But Trump defended the substance of the tweets. “I am the least racist person that anybodys going to meet,” Trump said, repeating another of his favorite lies.
“I knew nothing about them,” he added. “They had a, I guess, a couple of depictions of radical Islamic terror. Radical Islamic terror, whether you like talking about it or not, Piers, is ”
“No, Im going to come and talk about it,” Morgan reassured him.
“Because you look at whats going on, you look at whats going on in the UK, you look at whats going on all over the world,” Trump continued.
“And youre absolutely right about that,” Morgan agreed.
Asked if he regretted the tweets in hindsight, Trump defended them again. “It was done because I am a big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror. This was a depiction of radical Islamic terror.”
Morgan pointed out that these were “unverified” (false, actually) videos, and Trump repeated the lie that this was not a big story in the United States.
It was only after several minutes of defending the tweets that Trump addressed the idea of an apology.
“Can I get an apology out of you just for the retweets of Britain First?” Morgan asked.
“Heres whats fair,” Trump said. “If youre telling me these are horrible people, horrible racist people, I would certainly apologize if youd like me to do that. I know nothing about them.”
Then he again defended himself. “I dont want to be involved with people, but youre telling me about these people, because I know nothing about these people.”
Trump only offered a hypothetical promise of an apology, and only to quell the negative association with the group behind the tweets, not for the tweets themselves. Over and over again, Trump defended the racist content of those videos and messages, insisting that his promotion of that hate material was somehow combatting terrorism, and dismissed his own promotion of racism and lies.
Trump is, and will always be, an unapologetic racist. This interview shows that his only regret is receiving criticism for it.