Donald Trump has hit back after his presidential election opponent Joe Biden branded him the “first racist” to hold the office.
Biden had fielded a question from a healthcare worker concerned about the Republican president calling the coronavirus pandemic the “China virus.”
He responded by saying it was “absolutely sickening” how Trump “deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from.”
He added: “No sitting president’s ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, and they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”
The Trump campaign’s senior adviser Katrina Pierson fired back, calling Biden’s comments “an insult to the intelligence of black voters” given the onetime senator’s past work with segregationist lawmakers.
She said Trump “loves all people” and “works hard to empower all Americans.”
Trump himself later said at a press conference, when asked about Biden’s comments: “I’ve done more for black Americans than anybody with the possible of exception of Abraham Lincoln.
“Nobody has even been close.”
The Biden-Trump exchange marks an escalation in what had already been a heated clash on race in the campaign being waged between the two candidates, who are both white, ahead of the November 3 election.