In a wide-ranging interview on the CBS’s 60 Minutes program that aired on Sunday evening, new Democratic House of Representatives sensation Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that she saw “no question” that Donald Trump himself is a racist, a statement that few sitting politicians have yet to make.
“The president certainly didn’t invent racism,” Ocasio-Cortez told interviewer Anderson Cooper. “But he’s certainly given a voice to it and expanded it and created a platform for those things.”
When Cooper asked Ocasio-Cortez — who will not turn 30 until October 13 — “Do you believe (Donald) Trump is a racist?” the New York House District 14 representative did not hesitate with her response.
“Yeah. Yeah. No question,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cooper in the interview.
Cooper then asked Ocasio-Cortez, “How can you say that?” according to a report by the political news site The Hill.
“When you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy. When you look at how he reacted to the Charlottesville incident, where neo-Nazis murdered a woman, versus how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it’s, it’s night and day,” she replied.
Watch the 60 Minutes discussion of Trump’s racism between Ocasio-Cortez and Cooper, below.
The White House issued a response to the Ocasio-Cortez statements, saying that Trump “has repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry in all forms,” and attacking what a White House spokesperson called Ocasio-Cortez’s “sheer ignorance on the matter” of Trump’s racism.
But Ocasio-Cortez’s interview is far from the first time that Trump has been accused of racism, a charge that has dogged him for his entire career as a public figure. In 1973, when Trump was just 26-years-old — three years younger than Ocasio-Cortez is today — he was sued by the federal government for refusing to rent apartments that he owned with his father, New York real estate magnate Fred C. Trump, “because of race and color,” according to a contemporary New York Times report. Trump at the time called the allegation “ridiculous.”
When Trump owned a trio of Atlantic City casinos in the 1980s, according to former employee who spoke to the New Yorker magazine, he refused to share the floor of the casino with African-American employees.
“When Donald and (Trump’s first wife) Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” Kip Brown told the magazine. “It was the eighties, I was a teen-ager, but I remember it. They put us all in the back.”