A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday defended Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE in the controversy over his remarks about a judge's ethnicity by saying accusations of racism could also be lodged against President Obama.

"You can easily argue that the president of the United States is a racist with his policies and his rhetoric," Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said during an appearance on CNN's "At This Hour."


"My purpose here isn't to just go through the list and call everyone a racist. I'm saying that we all can up our game with rhetoric and policy because America, we are a nation of immigrants, we are a melting pot," he added.

The Republican accused Democrats of racial "microtargeting" in politics and policies, adding he didn't believe Trump considered himself to be of a "superior race."

Still, the lawmaker said he agreed with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBottom line Ex-Trump chief of staff Priebus mulling Wisconsin governor bid In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future MORE's (R-Wis.) assessment that Trump calling Judge Gonzalo Curiel biased because of his Mexican heritage is an example of "textbook" racism.

"The way I subjectively define racism, I agree as well. I think that Mr. Trump made a regrettable mistake with his statement," Zeldin said during the interview.

Zeldin also said it was a "regrettable legal strategy" for Trump to claim that Curiel's ethnicity is a conflict of interest in presiding over lawsuits against Trump University.

"I think we shouldn’t be going after ethnicity and race with a judge to assume that they are unqualified to serve as a judge in a particular case because of it," Zeldin said.

Asked if he was put in an awkward position supporting a candidate accused of being a racist, Zeldin said, "I don't feel uncomfortable at all."