Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE says the name of the NFL's Washington Redskins is a source of pride for some Native Americans.
“I know Indians that are extremely proud of that name,” Trump said on Monday according to The New York Times, weighing in on the contentious issue. “They think it’s a positive.
“Honestly, I don’t think they should change the name, unless the owner wanted to,” the GOP presidential front-runner added.
The team's owner, Daniel Snyder, has repeatedly vowed to keep the Redskins's name and logo, despite calls from Native American groups who find it offensive.
The controversy over the name has grown in recent years, with Democratic lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo Build Back Better, we need a tax system where everyone pays their fair share Democrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda MORE (Nev.) arguing it is a racist relic of the past worth discarding.
Change the Mascot, a grassroots campaign for replacing the team’s name, said on Monday that Trump’s defense of the name is insensitive toward Native Americans.
“It is hardly surprising that a candidate who labeled Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’ and calls women ‘pigs’ now says he wants the NFL to continue slurring Native Americans,” the group said in statement.
“Donald Trump joins some of the NFL’s ignoble fraternity of billionaires who sit in their office suites and owners’ boxes happily spending their fortunes denigrating people of color," it added.
Trump’s defense of the Redskins’ brand mirrors similar remarks made last week by a fellow Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“I don’t think [the team] should change it,” Bush told hosts Rick Klein and Andy Katz in a pre-recorded interview for SiriusXM’s “The Arena” aired on Oct. 2.
“I don’t find it offensive,” he said. "Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.
“It’s a sport, for crying out loud,” the Republican White House hopeful added. "It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fan base. I’m missing something here, I guess.”
Snyder donated $100,000 earlier this year to Right to Rise, a super-PAC supporting Bush’s 2016 Oval Office bid.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has backed the Redskins’s existing name despite criticism that it is bigoted and hurts the league's image.