President Trump said Tuesday he doesn't mind if people call him a "nationalist," after surprising a Texas audience Monday with his embrace of the historically contentious label.

“Call me a nationalist if you'd like, but I don’t want companies leaving,” Trump said at a White House event with local officials from Western states.

Later Tuesday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that his use of the term had nothing to do with white nationalism, and was instead a reflection of national pride and opposition to the country being "duped on military and also duped on trade."

"When I say a nationalist, I don't like it when Germany is paying 1 percent of GDP for NATO and we are paying 4.3 percent. I don't like that. That's not fair," Trump said in the Oval Office.

"I'm proud of our country, and I am a nationalist," he said.

"It's a word that hasn't been used too much. People use it. But I'm very proud. I think it should be brought back," he continued. "I'm somebody who wants to help other countries of the world. But I also have to take care of -- we have to take care of our country. We cannot continue to allow ourselves to be duped on military and also duped on trade."

[Also read: White House compares top Democrats and the media to Marx, Lenin, and Mao]

Trump's defense of the term followed his broad embrace of the label in opposition to "power-hungry globalists" while speaking in Texas.

On Monday, Trump endorsed the label while recognizing the word's poor connotations. Historically, nationalism is associated with militaristic and socially repressive dictators such as Adolf Hitler and his Axis allies.

“Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists,” Trump said in Texas. "A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much. And, you know what? We can’t have that.”

“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist," Trump said. “And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist.”

“Use that word. Use that word,” he said.