Donald Trump doesn’t believe his retweet of an inflammatory chart that inaccurately portrays U.S. murder rates among blacks and whites was racist.
“I’m probably the least racist person on earth,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday.
“However, when you tweet out a thing — and this bothered me, I gotta tell you,” O’Reilly said about the real estate mogul’s controversial post. “You tweeted out that whites killed by blacks — these were statistics you picked up from somewhere — at a rate of 81 percent. And that’s totally wrong.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
According to the most recent murder statistics available from the FBI, approximately 82 percent of white Americans were killed by other white Americans in 2014.
The chart in Trump’s tweet, which purports to show 2015 crime statistics, lists its source as “Crime Statistics Bureau — San Francisco,” which does not appear to exist.
The Republican frontrunner said the data came from “a radio show” and that retweets should not be considered endorsements for his nearly 5 million Twitter followers.
“Bill, I didn’t tweet — I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert,” Trump said. “Hey, Bill, Bill, am I gonna check every statistic?”
“You’re a presidential contender,” O’Reilly replied. “You gotta check ’em.”
The Fox News host then offered the GOP hopeful some advice: Stop tweeting.
“Look, you know I’m looking out for you, right? You know that. I’m looking out for you; I look out for every honest politician, no matter what party they’re in,” O’Reilly said. “Don’t do this. Don’t put your name on stuff like this, ’cause it makes the other side, it gives them stuff to tell the ill-informed voter that you’re a racist. You just handed them a platter.”
“Well, this was a retweet,” Trump continued. “Bill, I’m sure you’re looking out for me. Everybody is. This was a retweet. This was a retweet.”
“I told you, you shouldn’t tweet ever,” O’Reilly said.
Trump speaks at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday. (Photo: Jay LaPrete/Reuters)
Earlier Monday, Trump tripled down on his claim he saw “thousands and thousands of people” in New Jersey cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 — despite the lack of evidence such celebrations ever occurred.
Trump offered a Sept. 18, 2001, Washington Post article about an FBI probe into the 9/11 attacks as evidence of his claim:
In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.
But Serge Kolvaleski, one of the reporters of the 2001 article, said he never found evidence of celebrations.
“I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating,” Kolvaleski said in a statement Monday. “That was not the case.“
Trump remained defiant.
“I have the world’s greatest memory,” he told an NBC News reporter Monday night. “It’s one thing everyone agrees on.”