*A Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday tried to defend Donald Trump in the controversy over his remarks about a judge’s ethnicity by inexplicably saying one could also argue that President Obama is a racist.
Both Democrats and Republicans have called Trump a racist for saying the judge in his Trump University court case is biased because of his Mexican heritage. GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan today said Trump’s stance is the “textbook definition of a racist comment.”
But Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) believes anyone could be painted as a racist, even President Obama.
“You can easily argue that the president of the United States is a racist with his policies and his rhetoric,” Rep. Zeldin 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.
Zeldin 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 Ryan’s 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 told CNN.
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.”