Donald Trump told an Ohio audience on Wednesday that he regretted his campaign’s decision to delete a controversial tweet widely viewed as anti-Semitic.
The presumptive Republican nominee also ripped the media — mainly CNN — for covering the controversial tweet, calling journalists from the television network “sick” on multiple occassions.
Trump insisted that the star featured in the tweet’s image was not the Star of David. He had previously said it was instead a sheriff’s badge.
“So the star — which is a star, not the Star of David,” he told the Cincinnati crowd. “When they told me the Star of David, I said you’ve got to be kidding. How sick are they? They’re the one with the bad tendencies when they can think that way.”
He reiterated that CNN reporters are “sick,” “dishonest,” and “bad people,” before saying his staff should have kept the Saturday tweet up on his account.
“‘You shouldn’t have taken it down,'” he said, as if he was speaking to Dan Scavino, the senior aide who posted the tweet. “You know they took the star down. I said, ‘Too bad, you should have left it up. I would have rather defended it just leave it up and say no that’s not a Star of David it’s just a star.'”
Trump, his campaign, and fellow surrogates defended the controversial tweet a number of times during the past few days.
The tweet contained an image of a six-pointed star, most commonly known as the Jewish Star of David symbol, over a pile of money. The star was inscribed with the words “most corrupt candidate ever” and appeared next to an image of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The image, which was posted to a white-supremacist message board days before being posted on Twitter by the Trump campaign, has ignited controversy.
“One of my guys, who’s married to a Jewish woman — this is a very fine person, Dan Scavino — he put out a tweet talking about Crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump said when first explaining the controversy. “And on the tweet was a star. It’s a star. Like a star. And I said, ‘oh.’ Cause when I looked at it, I didn’t think anything.
“All of a sudden, it turned out to be — in the minds of the press only because it could’ve been a sheriff star or a regular star — my boy comes home from school, Barron, he draws stars all over the place, I never said ‘oh that’s a Star of David, Barron.”
Trump continued to insist that the star was a sheriff star or just a regular star.
He later accused media members of “racially profiling” for interpreting the tweet as anti-Semitic.
“I have a son-in-law who’s Jewish Jared who’s a great guy,” Trump said to try and prove he is not anti-Semitic. “My daughter is Jewish. I have grandchildren that are Jewish, OK? And I love them. And these are great people. Ivanka — married a Jewish guy who’s brilliant, who’s wonderful, who has a great heart, they have kids. Beautiful kids.”
The Manhattan billionaire then doubled-down on his attacks on CNN, saying “these people are sick. They’re sick.”
“And I’ll tell you — someday I’ll tell you the real story of CNN,” Trump said. “But they’re sick.”
Watch Trump’s remarks below:
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