Washington Post liberal columnist Jonathan Capehart says Donald Trump shouldn't be exempt from being called a racist just because he's friends with Oprah Winfrey.
"We all like Oprah," Capehart said, when asked if Trump's fondness for the former daytime TV queen dispels recent accusations that Trump is a racist.
In a Monday column, Capehart, who is black, said Trump's comment about many immigrants being criminals was "baldly racist." Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, fired back by printing out a copy of the column, scrawling across the top of it, "Jonathan, you are the racist, not I."
"Get rid of your 'hate,' " Trump wrote. "Best wishes."
Capehart posted an image of Trump's note on Twitter.
"Mr. Trump joins a long list of cranks who have called me a racist since I had the temerity to write that racism exists," Capehart told the Washington Examiner media desk on Wednesday. Asked if he actually thinks Trump is a racist, Capehart said yes.
"I am loath to hurl the 'racist' charge at anyone," he said. "But when you say, 'They're rapists' and follow it up with 'And some, I assume, are good people,' as a way of talking about undocumented Mexicans and other immigrants, what else are you?"
In June, Trump declared that he would seek the GOP nomination for president. During his announcement, he railed against U.S. immigration policy and called for tighter security on the southern border.
Many Latino political activists called on Trump to apologize (he hasn't) and several companies severed business ties with him in the fallout.
"And let's not forget Mr. Trump's splish-sploshing through the birther cesspool during the last election," Capehart added, referring to Trump's crusade in 2011 to get President Obama to make public a copy of his birth certificate.
Trump is known to have countless relationships with people from diverse backgrounds, from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera, to Winfrey. (Trump, perhaps jokingly, suggested last month that Winfrey would make a good vice presidential candidate.)
"Everyone loves a bombastic billionaire with New York swagger, especially in the world's No. 1 media market," Capehart said. "But as Mr. Trump is discovering, what plays well in the Big Apple doesn't take you very far when you are running for president of the United States. The scrutiny is higher. The expectations are higher. And the bar is low for lapses in temperament."