Donald Trump waded deep into the controversy surrounding a weekend post from his Twitter account that was widely perceived as anti-Semitic, offering a vigorous defense of it at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Wednesday.
The tweet, which was posted by Trump's social media manager, Dan Scavino, featured Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's face on piles of money - with a six-sided star with "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" emblazoned on it.
It created an instant bipartisan firestorm because the star was similar to the Star of David. Trump's team deleted the post and prompted House Speaker Paul Ryan to say that Trump should "clean up" his social media account.
Right as the controversy seemed to be dying down, Trump would have none of it, saying that he wished the post stayed up so he could defend it, even accusing those that were offended by it of its own racism repeatedly.
"It's a star!" Trump said. "And it actually looks like a sheriff star, but I don't know, and behind it they had money. Oh, but there's money behind it. Actually, they're racially profiling. They're profiling, not us, because why are they bringing this up?"
And again, later, Trump said, "So the star which is a star, and not the Star of David, when they told me the Star of David, I said you have to be kidding. How sick are they? Actually, they're the ones with the bad tendencies when they can think that way. They're the ones."
The image originally appeared on Twitter from a user who also posted other anti-Semitic images and anti-Clinton graphics. Scavino, in his own statement, admitted that he copied the image from this user without attribution, but vigorously denied charges of anti-Semitism.
Neither Trump nor Scavino addressed the fact that the image was also featured on white supremacist message board postings.
The Anti-Defamation League was among the loudest of voices criticizing Trump earlier in the week.
"We've been troubled by the anti-Semites and racists during this political season," said Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the ADL, in a statement to The Hill. "And we've seen a number of so-called Trump supporters peddling some of the worst stereotypes all through this year."
"And it's been concerning that Trump hasn't spoken our forcefully against these people. It is outrageous to think that the candidate is sourcing material from some of the worst elements in our society."
But Trump showed no intent of backing down at the Sharonville Convention Center.
"I would have rather defended it," Trump said. "Just leave it up. And say no, that's just a star...but [Clinton] sent it out. She's the one that started the dialogue. You know why? Because she wanted to get off the FBI."
Trump didn't mention that his campaign team reposted the image - and tried to cover up what Trump called "just a star." He also didn't mention that why his social media team acted over his objections in removing the tweet.
Later in the evening, Trump tweeted out a photo of a book tie-in to the Disney movie "Frozen" that had a similar star.