President Donald Trump said at his news conference he is neither anti-Semitic nor a racist.
"I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life," Trump said Thursday at his first solo White House faceoff with the media since taking office. He added that he is also the "least racist person."
The president was responding to a question about recent threats to Jewish centers across the country and rising anti-Semitism.
"What we are concerned about and what we haven't really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it," said the reporter, Jake Turx of an orthodox Jewish weekly called Ami. "There's been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to——"
Trump interrupted, saying it was "not a fair question."
After Turx tried to interject, Trump told him to be "quiet." The president later called the question "insulting."
"I hate the charge," he said. "I find it repulsive."
Turx later gave a brief explanation on Twitter.
President Trump clearly misunderstood my question. This is highly regretful and I'm going to seek clarification. # TrumpNewsConference
In a joint press conference with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, Trump dodged a question about a sharp increase in U.S. anti-Semitic incidents, delivering a rambling response by talking first about his electoral victory and then mentioning his family.
"As far as people — Jewish people — so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you're going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening, and you're going to see a lot of love. You're going to see a lot of love. OK? Thank you," he said on Wednesday.