A report in the New York Times that explored whether President Trump harbors racial animus interviewed several of Trump's black friends for the story, all of whom said they never saw signs of racism.

Only Democratic activist and liberal MSNBC host Al Sharpton, who has associated with Trump in the past, said he sees signs of racism in the president.

The story, published Thursday in light of Trump's comments about the violence in Charlottesville, Va., said, "more than ever, the question is being asked: Is Mr. Trump personally racist?"

Among those interviewed was Kara Young, a biracial former girlfriend of Trump's, who said, "That was not my experience" in their relationship. She also said that she "never heard him say a disparaging comment towards any race of people."

Also interviewed in the story was Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for Trump's campaign and for Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the administration. Both Pierson and Carson are black and both disputed the idea of Trump being racist.

Lynne Patton, a black woman in the administration leads the Department of Housing and Urban Development agency's New York and New Jersey office, offered that Trump "doesn't see color the way the average person does."

Trump drew wide criticism this week after he maintained that "both sides" of protesters at a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville bear responsibility for violence that broke out and resulted in the death of one woman.

Among all those interviewed for the Times story, only Sharpton, who was an outspoken supporter of President Barack Obama and has a history of anti-Semitic activism, would suggest that Trump is racist.

"He has made a deliberate choice to not be inclusive and to be racially exclusive," Sharpton told the paper. "He has nobody black, at all, in his inner circle."

The article is similar to one published by the Times in late 2015, a few months into Trump's campaign. That story said his campaign rhetoric had "divide[d] black celebrities he calls friends."

But only two subjects interviewed for that story, entrepreneur Russell Simmons and, again, Sharpton, accused Trump of racial bigotry.

Rev. Jesse Jackson said in the story that Trump has said some "painful and hurtful" things throughout the campaign. But, the story said, "When asked if Mr. Trump was a racist, Mr. Jackson responded, 'I don't want to use that language.'"

Several other celebrities quoted in the story supported Trump, calling him a longtime friend.

Don King, the professional boxing promoter, said, "To me, Donald is Donald. That's not a presidential endorsement, but it is a humanistic endorsement."

The story referred to a recent comment by former boxing champion Mike Tyson, who defended Trump's controversial remarks on Muslims. "Hey listen, anybody that was ever president of the United States offended some group of people," Tyson had said.

Jaqueline M. Williams, a former associate at Trump's company, described the real estate developer's campaign rhetoric as "shocking" but otherwise only recalled a "warm, professional environment" while working for him.

Retired NFL player Herschel Walker also would not criticize Trump.

"I don't think Donald is against Muslims, or blacks, or Hispanics," Walker said in the story. "I do know he is going to try to make this country safe."