But the longer Mr. Trump spends on the stage, the more friends and former employees, like Michael D. Cohen, Omarosa Manigault Newman and Anthony Scaramucci, have concluded that he is more racist than they had admitted.

“Let me be clear: Donald Trump is a disgusting, filthy, petty racist and he is trying to start a race war in this country and what we saw this week is just the beginning,” said Ms. Manigault Newman, a former “Apprentice” star fired after a stint in the White House…

For some who defended Mr. Trump against charges of racism in the past, this was a turning point. “As much as I have denied it and averted my eyes from it, this latest incident made it impossible,” Geraldo Rivera, a roaming correspondent at large for Fox News and longtime friend, said in an interview.

“My friendship with the president has cost me friendships, it has cost me schisms in the family, my wife and I are constantly at odds about the president,” he added. “I do insist that he’s been treated unfairly. But the unmistakable words, the literal words he said, is an indication that the critics were much more right than I.”