Trump fends off criticism: 'In fact, I am the least racist person'
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states 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 ClintonSexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not 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 RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (Wis.) and even led to vulnerable Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThis week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill Trump attending Senate GOP lunch Tuesday High stakes as Trump heads to Hill 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.”