Donald Trump Jr. chastised Trump critics who call his father racist during a January interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Speaking with Ginny Thomas, who is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, he discussed what Thomas called “the left’s efforts to frame your dad and anyone who supports your dad as a hater, as a racist, as a fascist.”
“Well, I think it’s terrible,” the president’s son replied before going on to explain what the “real problem” is when people “smear” his father.
“Certainly, racism exists,” Trump began, before adding, “But if it’s your response to any argument you can’t win, you actually do a real disservice to those people ... who are actually oppressed and hurt by real racism, by real sexism.”
“The problem is,” he continued, “When people who are actually affected by [racism] say it, it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s lost its effect, because it’s been numbing to people. You can only overplay your hand so many times before people start calling your bluff.”
Trump continued to defend his father by referencing his prior photos with “all the rappers” and “all his African-American friends.” Trump associates have previously disputed accusations of racism by referencing their friendships with black people.
Trump told Thomas:
“You know, it’s amazing. All the rappers, all the this, all his African-American friends from Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton ― you know, I have pictures with them their whole life, we say hi, always been friends. It was only till he got into politics that all of a sudden, ‘Oh he’s the most terrible human being in the world.’”
I don’t know, he wasn’t so terrible a couple of years ago, when you were at his events ... when you were hitting him up for charity dollars and he’s sponsoring things and sponsoring scholarships and doing XYZ for you guys.”
It’s not clear what Donald Trump Jr.’s definition of “real racism” is. His father had a history of making racist remarks long before he was ever a candidate for the nation’s highest office. The federal government sued Trump when he was president of his own father’s real estate company for discriminating against black people seeking apartments to rent.
Decades later, Trump rose to political prominence as one of the leaders of the racist birther movement, which questioned the birthplace of America’s first black president. Just a few weeks ago, he reportedly referred to Haiti and multiple African nations as “shithole” countries, stating his preference for immigrants from countries like Norway.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.