Some of Donald Trump’s harshest critics have labeled him a fraud, a misogynist, a xenophobe—even a racist.
The presumptive Republican nominee’s surrogates have summarily dismissed such allegations for months, and Trump has done little to confront them head-on. But one technology executive supporting Trump actually used the word “racist” to praise the real-estate mogul as someone who fights for American workers.
“I’ll tell you, I think he’s a racist for the American employee, and that’s what I think people are resonating for,” Paradata CEO Scott Slinker said on Thursday afternoon on CNBC, in a clip first spotted by a Reuters reporter. “He wants to get America back to work, and I think that’s a great thing.”
Slinker’s response was met mostly with laughs from the CNBC hosts, but not before the Silicon Valley entrepreneur—apparently realizing what he’d just admitted—added: “I hope you don’t edit that out.”
“It’s live, that’s the beauty of it,” host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reassured him.
For months, Trump has channeled the anger of middle-class voters who believe international trade deals and immigration from countries like Mexico negatively affect the U.S. labor market and manufacturing industries. He routinely blasts the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying the U.S. should place restrictions on free trade in order to protect American jobs.
“I'm going to bring jobs back from China, Mexico Japan, Vietnam. They are taking our jobs. They are taking our wealth,” Trump said at a Republican presidential debate in February. “We have $2.5 trillion offshore. We're going to bring that money back.”
Slinker said Trump’s support extends beyond the “.1% elite” to “the everyday common employee who wants to get back to work.”