Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim retweets of material from the racist, nationalist group Britain First forced British Prime Minister Theresa May to publicly call Trump out, but he appears to still be unclear about the magnitude of his offense.
“If you’re telling me they are horrible racist people, I will certainly apologize if you’d like me to do that,” Trump told ITV Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan. “I know nothing about these people.”
That … is not an apology. “I will apologize if you want” just doesn’t cut it, though it was enough to earn Trump some “Trump apologizes” headlines from credulous media. Trump also insisted it’s not that he was promoting Britain First as a group, it’s just that their anti-Muslim propaganda appealed to him:
“I don’t know who they are, I know nothing about them, so I wouldn’t be doing that,” he said. “I am the least racist person that anyone is going to meet. Certainly I wasn’t endorsing anybody … It was done because I am a big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror. It was a big story where you are — but it was not where I am. So you’re telling me something.”
It’s a rule that anyone saying “I’m the least racist person you’ll ever meet” is a raving racist, right?
But beyond Trump’s insistence that he didn’t mean to be promoting a specific group, he just hates Muslims the same as that group, there’s an interesting tell here: “It was a big story where you are — but it was not where I am. So you’re telling me something.” Because it was a big story in the United States. But it sounds like it’s yet another story Trump was shielded from by a staff (and a cable news channel) that doesn’t want him upset by awkward realities, or one he’s banished from his mind as too inconvenient to be remembered. Pro tip: If the head of an ally country has to publicly say “it was wrong” about something you did, it’s a big story.
Whatever you read, though, he did not apologize.