RICHMOND, Va. - A half-full coliseum erupted into Indian war whoops as Donald Trump called a U.S. senator "Pocahontas" on Friday at a rally in Richmond, where the mogul-candidate was back to his teleprompter-free ways.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee expressed tongue-in-cheek remorse for calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, "Pocahontas," a jab at her claim that she is of Native American descent.
"I"m doing such a disservice," he said, "to Pocahontas."
Warren, whose heritage claim was questioned in her run for Senate, has been an outspoken Trump critic and is often mentioned as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump made the remark in a free-wheeling, 55-minute speech, giving up the scripted version he tried out recently in a bid to look more conventionally "presidential."
The crowd rewarded him with chants of "Build the wall!" and "USA! USA!"
The event drew about 6,000 fans to the 12,000-seat Richmond Coliseum. Trump noted that they had come together on about a day's notice. The rally also attracted about 200 protesters, whose clashes with Trump supporters outside led Richmond Police to detain five people, arresting one on a charge of disorderly conduct.
"No KKK, no fascist USA, no Trump," the protesters chanted.
A confrontation broke out after a small group of Trump backers with "Wall" signs ventured into a crowd of protesters. Some started shoving and striking each other. Officers pulled at least two Trump backers over a barricade and led them away with their hands bound.
Throughout his speech, Trump hit on familiar campaign promises, such as his vow to address illegall immigration by building a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. Even the Pocahontas line is well worn.
But it was notable that Trump would revive the insult Friday - at the rally and earlier in the day on Twitter - because he was already facing a backlash over his comments about the "Mexican" judge presiding over a fraud case against the defunct Trump University.
Trump has contended that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, is biased against him because of the candidate's hard line against illegal immigration.
Trump did not mention the judge in his speech, but said that as president, he would address African-American and Hispanic unemployment. He offered no details beyond plans to tweak his campaign slogan: "Make American Great Again -- for Everyone."
"I am the least racist person that you've ever seen," he said. "I mean, give me a break."
Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Laura Vozzella, Fenit Nirappil · NATIONAL, POLITICS · Jun 10, 2016 - 10:29 PM