Trump at Houston Rally: 'I Am a Nationalist, Okay?'

During a spirited speech at a rally for Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston Monday, President Trump declared, 'I am a nationalist!'

"Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock and restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists," Trump said. "A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much."

"You know what? We can't have that," he said. "They have a word, it became old-fashioned. It's called a nationalist. I say, really? We are not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist, okay?"

"Use that word!" Trump encouraged the crowd.

Trump noted that the media is reporting that he is unpopular with foreign leaders.

"They reported yesterday that Donald Trump is very unpopular with foreign nations," the president continued. "I said, 'of course I am unpopular with foreign nations because we are not letting them rip us off anymore.'" He said the "fake news... meant that to be bad."

"Honestly, we are treating everybody good," said Trump. "We are helping people and protecting people. When we protect with our military — the greatest in the world and now it's a lot better than it's ever been because of what we are doing — we have to be reimbursed for that protection. We are protecting the wealthiest nations in the world and we are subsidizing them and then they beat us on trade. They take advantage of us. Those days are over. You are seeing it happening fast."

It's not the first time Trump has used the loaded term "nationalist" to refer to himself. "I believe in free trade. I want so much trade," he said at the White House in early 2017. "You know, somebody said, 'Oh, maybe he's a total nationalist.' Which I am in a true sense."

The label is fraught with baggage because of its association with the white nationalist movement (not to mention Hitler), but Trump was undeterred by the possible implications of the word, the use of which will only fuel critics who say Trump is a racist. The crowd at Houston's Toyota Center, however, loved it, cheering Trump's declaration enthusiastically.

Predictably, Twitter lit up with critics who were outraged by the use of the word — and fans who cheered the president.

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