Trump fends off criticism: 'In fact, I am the least racist person'
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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech MORE declared himself the “least racist person” as he seeks to push back against a rash of criticism over his attacks on a Mexican-American federal judge.

“I am not a racist, in fact, I am the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered,” Trump said during an interview with The Washington Post published Friday. 

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He went on to show the Post reporter a copy of a black weekly newspaper in Cleveland sent to him by the paper’s owner, boxing promoter Don King, in which the paper endorsed Trump for president with Democrat Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE as his running mate.

“This is Don King. Now, Don King knows racism probably better than anybody. He’s not endorsing a racist, OK?” Trump said.

King denied that he had endorsed Trump in a brief interview with the New York Daily News on Friday.

“No ... I’m endorsing the people. I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, I’m a Republicrat, and I go with the will of the people. The only reason Trump exists is because of the will of the people," King said.

Trump went on to say that he doesn’t believe people view him as racist, claiming “Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton Boehner on Clinton impeachment: 'I regret that I didn't fight against it' 'Matt Gaetz wants to date your child' billboard appears in Florida The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan MORE was called a racist by Obama” and saying he doesn't think Clinton is racist either.

After Bill Clinton brushed off Obama’s strong candidacy in 2008 as a “fairy tale,” Obama didn't refer to Clinton as a racist, but his aides criticized the comments as diminishing a candidacy by a black politician. 

Trump in May accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing cases against Trump University, of being biased because he is the son of Mexican immigrants. Since then, the candidate has mounted a significant damage-control effort to combat resounding criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Those comments have prompted rebukes from prominent Republicans including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world Boehner throws support behind Republican who backed Trump impeachment MORE (Wis.) and even led to vulnerable Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.) withdrawing his endorsement of Trump.

Trump indirectly addressed the controversy during a Friday speech to a forum of religious conservatives, where he promised to “bring our nation together.”

“Freedom of any kind means no one should be judged by their race or their color and the tone of his hue, should not be judged that way,” he said. “We will work together to rebuild and restore and lift up everyone. Not a certain group, everyone.”