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Trump: ‘I am not a racist’

File: President Donald Trump.

By Aileen Graef, CNN

President Donald Trump defended himself Sunday night after several days of controversy over his remarks about African countries, telling reporters, “I am not a racist.”

In remarks to reporters at a dinner photo opportunity with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said when asked if he is a racist, “No, I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview.”

The President has drawn sharp criticism since he was reported to have called African countries “s—holes” while discussing immigration with lawmakers Thursday.

Rep. Mia Love, a Republican representing Utah’s Fourth District, said she thought the comment was racist. 

The President also addressed the looming government shutdown when asked if it would happen.

“I don’t know if there will be a shutdown, there shouldn’t be,” he said.

The White House and Democrats in Congress are negotiating an immigration deal as lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass a federal spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.