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Trump knows what xenophobia means—but he’s betting that voters don’t

Reuters/Brian Snyder
Don’t apologize.
By Hanna Kozlowska
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Critics, commentators and his main opponent have often defined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as xenophobic for inciting fear or hatred of foreigners in voters. But the presumptive Republican nominee is not afraid of being called out for his xenophobia—because apparently he doesn’t think his voters understand the meaning of the word.

Boston radio host Howie Carr took a trip on Trump One, the billionaire’s private plane, and recounted his conversation with Trump in the Boston Herald (h/t Politico). He says he brought up a sign he saw at a protest against the candidate, which read: “RACIST SEXIST BIGOT FASCIST XENOPHOBE ISLAMOPHOBE TRUMP.” According to Carr, Trump dismissed the comment. “Hillary’s called me a ‘xenophobe’ a few times. How many people even know what the word means? Same with ‘nativist.’”

Another gem from the Carr-Trump conversation is a piece of advice the candidate gave the radio host. Carr had just introduced Trump at a rally, where he mocked Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren by imitating Indian war whoops. Trump himself has repeatedly called Warren “Pocahontas,” in reference to a controversy about her Native American heritage. Carr says Trump offered him some words of wisdom: “Whatever you do, don’t apologize.” He continued: “You never hear me apologize, do you? That’s what killed Jimmy the Greek way back. Remember? He was doing okay ’til he said he was sorry.”

Trump was referring to Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, a sportscaster who was fired from CBS in 1988 for making racist comments:

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