President Donald Trump on Monday called the press “loco” — Spanish for “crazy” — and then defended his use of the word by saying the U.S. had made a trade deal with Mexico.
Speaking at the White House about the recent deal with Canada and Mexico to salvage NAFTA, the president responded to a question from NBC’s Peter Alexander regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump said the media has mistreated Kavanaugh, who has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by three women.
“They’re loco,” he said of the media. “I use that word because of that fact that we made a trade deal with Mexico.”
Trump has long fostered a fraught relationship with the U.S.’s southern neighbor. When he announced his presidential bid in 2015, he said of Mexico, “They are not our friend, believe me.”
He claimed the country was sending undocumented immigrants into the United States:
They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
Trump made a massive and costly border wall a central part of his presidential campaign and insisted that “Mexico will pay for it.” Mexican leaders have repeatedly said their country will not pay for such a wall.
His administration has enforced numerous policies that hurt people from Mexico and South and Central American countries, including ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and routinely separating migrant families at the border.
Trump frequently makes off-the-cuff comments, like his “loco” remark, that come across as tone deaf at best and blatantly racist at worst.
In January he reportedly described Haiti and African nations as “shithole” countries and slammed the idea of renewing protections for immigrants from those regions.
Trump also has a tendency of referring to racial groups as monoliths.
“I’ll take jobs back from China. I’ll take jobs back from Japan,” he said during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2015. “The Hispanics are going to get those jobs, and they’re going to love Trump.”
“I love the Muslims. I think they’re great people,” he said during his campaign regarding whether he would be willing to name a Muslim person to his Cabinet.
“I have a great relationship with the blacks,” Trump said in April 2011. “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”