Donald Trump said he had heard little of the reported spike in racist incidents since he was elected president on Tuesday, insisting it was the work of a “very small amount” of his supporters.
“I am very surprised to hear that—I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that,” Trump told CBS News’ Lesley Stahl in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday. “But I think it’s a very small amount.”
Local media outlets and civil rights groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center have documented dozens of incidents of anti-black online harassment, Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off, and immigrants being hassled in the wake of Election Day. The SPLC told USA Today that it has logged over 200 complaints in the past week.
CBS’s Stahl asked Trump if he had a message for the perpetrators.
“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, because I’m going to bring this country together,” he replied.
Pressed for a stronger condemnation and an acknowledgment that many Americans feel afraid and at risk in the wake of the election, Trump said, “I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it—if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”
Like his surrogates, the President-elect also brushed aside questions about the tens of thousands of people who have protested his win in cities across the country.
“There are people, Americans, who are scared and some of them are demonstrating right now, demonstrating against you, against your rhetoric,” Stahl told him.
“That’s only because they don’t know me,” Trump said. “I just don’t think they know me.”
He also insisted, as he did in a tweet over the weekend, that “some of them” are “professional” protesters paid by large Democratic donors.
“I would tell them don’t be afraid, absolutely,” he told Stahl. “Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid.”
Watch a clip of Trump’s CBS interview below: