Being called a racist has infuriated Trump, gnawing at him in recent days as he lashes out — in tweets and in public comments — over the moniker, behavior his advisers and allies excuse as the natural reaction of anyone who does not consider himself a racist but is accused of being one…

The president views the characterization largely through the lens of politics, said one close adviser, explaining that Trump feels the charges of racism are just another attempt to discredit him — not unlike, he believes, the more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual misconduct or the Russia investigation…

Trump’s sensitivity about the racist sobriquet dates back decades. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist who has known Trump and tangled with him for many years, said the president has long understood that being called “the r-word” would damage his casino and hotel businesses and, now, his political standing.

“At one level, you’re super sensitive about the r-word, and on another level, you buy ads on the Central Park Five,” Sharpton said.