While defending President Donald Trump against accusations that some of his recent comments on Twitter were racist, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, “I understand that everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people.”

What’s the context?

After Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) had criticized members of the Border Patrol, calling their actions “government-sponsored child abuse,” Trump targeted him in a series of tweets on Saturday in which he called Cumming’s congressional district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous & filthy place.”

The House Oversight Committee, which Cummings chairs, voted last week to subpoena the personal emails and texts of White House officials.

Cummings and other liberal politicians, as well as many in the news media, quickly denounced Trump’s statements as racist.

What did Mulvaney say?

Speaking to host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Mulvaney first argued that Trump was only trying “to push back against what the President sees as inaccuracies, lies, about what Mr. Cummings said this week in the oversight committee about the border.” He said that Trump “absolutely” speaks “hyperbolically,” but that “what Mr. Cummings said this week was wrong.”

Brennan stressed “You know that this is a majority black district. And when the President calls it ‘rat infested,’ he says ‘no human being would live there.’ Do you understand that that is offensive to the Americans who do live there?”

Mulvaney responded:

I understand that everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people. Keep in mind about two weeks ago, the President said things that were critical of AOC and her squad and was immediately accused of being a racist. A couple of days later Nancy Pelosi said some things critical of that same group of people and she was defended by the media and by the folks on the left for not being racist when Donald Trump —

Brennan interrupted him to ask him again if he understood why “this is being perceived as racist.”

“I understand why, but that doesn’t mean that it’s racist,” Mulvaney answered. “The President is pushing back against what he sees as wrong. It’s how he’s done in the past and he’ll continue to do in the future.”

While Mulvaney brought up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) criticizing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ocasio-Cortez had accused Pelosi of racism, arguing that the speaker was targeting her and other “newly-elected women of color.”


Mulvaney defends Trump tweets: “Everything” Trump says “is offensive to some people”

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