President Donald Trump called Sen. Kamala Harris a "monster" twice during an interview Thursday, the morning after she made history as the first Black and Asian American woman to participate in a vice presidential debate.
"This monster that was on stage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night, by the way, but this monster," Trump said in a rambling and manic hourlong phone interview with Fox Business.
"I thought that wasn't even a contest last night. She was terrible. I don't think you could get worse," he added. "And totally unlikable. And she is."
"She's a communist," he said falsely.
The president often refers to Democratic nominee Joe Biden as "Sleepy Joe," with "Phony Kamala" usually his insulting nickname for Harris.
But the use of "monster" went much further and was viewed by many as a dehumanizing term, used because she is a woman of color.
Trump has a long history of misogyny and racism, especially against women who criticize him. During presidential debates in the 2016 campaign, Trump called Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman," and he frequently refers to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" and criticizes the intelligence of Rep. Maxine Waters.
At Wednesday's debate, Harris called out the multiple incidents of racism by Trump that have defined his presidency, from calling Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals” when he first announced his presidential campaign in 2015 to his travel ban on predominately Muslim countries to saying there were good people “on both sides” after a fatal white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
"Monster" is not a standard insult for Trump, who often calls people "losers" or "lightweights."
In the past, Trump has referred to gunmen who committed massacres in El Paso and Dayton as "mentally ill monsters." He has also referred to MS-13 gang members, terrorists, and the murderers of police officers as monsters.
In 2005, he called his then-pregnant wife Melania a "monster in the most positive way" due to her pregnancy weight gain.
Staff from the NAACP said Trump's latest comments were unacceptable.
"It’s sad that comments like these from the sitting U.S. President are not only common but expected," the NAACP tweeted. "Yet they are still UNACCEPTABLE!"
Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania also denounced Trump's racism.
"Calling the first Black woman to ever take the Vice Presidential debate stage a 'monster' tells you all you need to know about President Trump's respect for women and people of color," he wrote on Twitter.
Others also found the term insulting.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the same Fox Business interview, Trump said he would not participate in the second presidential debate because its format had been changed to a virtual event.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday that Trump and Biden would appear remotely for the debate due to the president's COVID-19 diagnosis.
"I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate," Trump said.