Journalist Cokie Roberts confronted Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Wednesday morning about reports that white children have been taunting children of color by invoking the Trump’s name and promises of deportation.
“There have been incidents of children, white children, pointing to their darker-skinned classmates and saying, ‘You’ll be deported when Donald Trump is president.’ There have been incidents of white kids at basketball games holding up signs to teams which have Hispanic kids on them, saying, ‘We’re going to build a wall to keep you out,'” Roberts asked Trump on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Are you proud of that? Is that something you’ve done in American political and social discourse that you’re proud of?”
“Well, I think your question is a very nasty question,” Trump replied. “And I’m not proud of it because I didn’t even hear of it, okay? And I don’t like it at all when I hear about it. You’re the first one whose told me about it.”
Roberts told the frontrunner that such incidents been reported “in many newspapers,” but he continued on.
“I’m not proud of it at all and that’s not the purpose of it is. We want to make America great again,” he said. “We want to bring back industry. We want to bring back our jobs from China and Japan and by the way, Mexico, which has taken so many of our jobs. I have not heard about these instances.”
Roberts returned to the effects of hateful rhetoric on children.
“When you talk about deporting people and you talk about building a wall and you talk about banning Muslims, doesn’t that have an effect on children, doesn’t that have an effect on the whole discourse?” she asked.
Trump began to reply before Roberts could even finish her question: “I talk about deporting people that are here illegally. And I also talk about people coming in, Cokie.”
Roberts tried again to get Trump to reckon with how his rhetoric affects children, but Trump started talking about his plans for a border wall.
“Cokie, I also talk about building a wall and often times, I’ll say, ‘And it’s going to be a big beautiful door in that wall’ and people can come into our country because we want people to come in,” he said.
“But what about the children, Mr. Trump? What about what the children are hearing from you and how they are responding to it?” Roberts asked.
“Well, I think people are responding very positively,” Trump replied.
“Children, I asked,” Roberts pressed.
“I think the messages are very positive you know. Make America great again is a very positive message, not a negative message,” Trump said, again ignoring Roberts’ question about the effects of his rhetoric on young people.
Watch below via MSNBC: