Base anxiety? Donald Trump refuses to say that he's neither a racist nor a homophobe

Don Lemon asked him direct questions, Trump provided long-winded non-answers


Scott Eric Kaufman
October 1, 2015 7:38PM (UTC)

Don Lemon spoke to GOP front-runner Donald Trump on Wednesday and asked him whether appearing before lily-white, conservative Christian audiences would create the impression that he's racist or homophobic -- and Trump delivered his non-answers with casual aplomb.

Unlike his anodyne interview with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday -- in which the "hard-hitting" host lobbed fat pitches prefaced with a disclaimer that he hoped it wasn't "unfair" to ask him about certain issues, and about which O'Reilly claimed Salon misrepresented him via verbatim quotation -- Don Lemon actually confronted the real estate magnate about the audience his rhetoric was appealing to, including evangelicals outraged by the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.

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"Do you think you are homophobic?" Lemon asked.

Trump replied by saying that "I think that I’m a very nice person," because of course he does -- it's in his brand's best interest. "I love people, and I have to tell you, when you look at those polls, it’s across the board. You know who loves me? The Tea Party. The evangelicals. I’m leading with evangelicals -- I love them, they love me. I’m Presbyterian, I’m Protestant, and they like me. You know why? Because they think I’m gonna do a great job for the country."

That didn't quite answer Lemon's question -- or address it even -- so the CNN anchor tried another approach, asking him whether he believed he could appeal to the African-American community. "Some people may perceive you as racist," he said, "answer me that."

"I just did a speech for the African-American Chamber of Commerce of South Carolina," Trump replied. "They just wrote me the most beautiful letter I’ve gotten in a long time saying how unfairly I got treated by the press."

He added that he only attended the event as a favor "to a couple of friends who just happened to be African-American" -- which doesn't exactly help his cause -- and that CNN did him and the black community a disservice by showing images of the event demonstrating that it was sparsely attended.

Watch the entire interview below via CNN.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Aol_on Cnn Don Lemon Donald Trump Elections 2016 Homophobia Racism

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