At a Friday campaign rally in Redding, California, Donald Trump pointed to a supporter in the audience and said, "Look at my African American over here."
Trump had been discussing the violent protesters who came to his rally in San Jose, and called them "thugs."
Then he pivoted to talking about an earlier campaign rally in March, which was reportedly interrupted by protesters wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods. A black Trump supporter punched one of the protesters, and all were escorted out.
"We had a case where we had an African-American guy who was a fan of mine. Great fan, great guy. In fact, I wanna find out what's going on with him," Trump said. Then he pointed to someone in the audience who caught his attention — presumably the man Trump was referring to.
"Look at my African American over here, look at him," Trump said. "Are you the greatest?"
Trump continued with the story of how this "African American" had "cold-cocked" the guy in the Ku Klux Klan outfit, and said the media had unfairly assumed the black Trump supporter was actually the protester.
Some observers pointed out that putting a person of color on display in this way, especially while calling him "my African American," was incredibly racially insensitive.
I want to know who Trump’s African American is, and how he felt about the use of the word "my" in that sentence.— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 3, 2016
This incident came as the campaign press was still busy talking about Trump's repeated racist remarks against a Hispanic federal judge.
Trump also told the crowd that "when we have a protester inside, which isn't even very often, I say: 'Be very gentle, please don't hurt him, take care of him. If he wants to shout, if he punches you in the face — smile, as your nose is pouring blood out of it, be very, very nice.'"
This claim is absurd on its face, given that Trump has directly encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies. Recently, Trump even told his supporters as a protester was being escorted out, "Don't hurt him. I say that for the television cameras."