Donald Trump waded into the discussion about racial tensions in America during an appearance with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Tuesday night.
When asked whether there is an undercurrent of division in America, the Republican presidential candidate said, “sadly, there would seem to be.”
Trump, who has in the past condemned activists within the Black Lives Matter movement, appeared to empathise with families affected by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile — two black men who were killed by police last week.
“I thought they were terrible … I looked at that, I said ‘wow, that’s bad.'”
Trump suggested that he understands racial inequality in modern-day America, saying “even against me, the system is rigged. When I ran for president, I could see what was going on with the system, and the system is rigged.”
O’Reilly attempted to rephrase the question: “Do you think you understand the African American experience?”
The real-estate billionaire said “you can’t truly understand what’s going on unless you’re African-American,” echoing the words of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who made a similar statement last week.
Trump had no compliments for President Barack Obama, who has spoken repeatedly on the intersectional matters of gun violence, policing, and racial tensions over the past few years. Trump called Obama “a divider.”
“The country has no spirit,” he said, “we need a cheerleader, not a divider,” adding that things would “get worse before they get better.”
On Tuesday, Trump declined an invitation to speak at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati next Monday, becoming only the fourth presidential candidate since 1980 to turn down the invite, according to NBC News.
The Republican National Convention kicks off the same day in Cleveland.
Watch the full Trump interview here:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.