On Monday, Donald Trump took to Twitter to respond to a slew of criticism that he’s a racist.
Trump made the statement after a number of media outlets, including the Associated Press, CNN and MSNBC, highlighted an incident in which a black protester interrupted a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump called the incident “disgusting” and “unbelievable.”
The incident came just hours after Trump and his wife Melania were photographed in a group photo at the White House, and a tweet by the president accused the media of trying to “put us down.”
“I don’t have any sympathy for racists, or anyone who would do violence to people,” Trump said in his statement.
“But it is not the time to silence debate, or to silence the press.”
Trump has long pushed back against the media’s portrayal of him as a racist, telling reporters in 2016 that he would “love to beat [them] up,” and saying that his “lack of empathy” was “a real problem.”
Trump, who previously called the media “the enemy of the American people,” has previously blamed the media for the recent wave of violent attacks on people of color in America.
During a CNN interview in October, Trump said the media is “obsessed with ratings,” a statement that he has repeated on multiple occasions.
In November, Trump responded to a question about the violence in Charlottesville by saying, “I think it’s important for us to look at the root cause.
I think there’s some responsibility on both sides.”
Trump’s statements against the press have also drawn criticism from groups like Black Lives Matter.
In a series of tweets Monday, the group called out Trump for his attacks on the press, and claimed that he is “using the media as a weapon to divide and control us.”
“Donald Trump is using the media to divide us, to divide our communities, and to divide the American public,” the group said.
“He is using his bully pulpit to create division, to marginalize and to silence our communities and our leaders.”
The president also tweeted on Monday, saying he is the “only one who knows how to take care of people.”