White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Trump on Tuesday against claims that he is racist, suggesting that NBC would never have given him a starring roll on "The Apprentice" if he harbored racial animus toward minority groups or immigrants.

"Frankly, if the critics of the president were who he said he was, why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV?" Sanders said to reporters, a day after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested Trump could prove he is not racist by endorsing a clean bill that grants permanent legal status to some 800,000 undocumented youth.

Schumer is one of several Democratic politicians who spent years accepting campaign contributions from Trump before he launched his White House bid, which Sanders pointed out on Tuesday.

"Why did they want to be with him for years and years in various activities whether it was events, fundraisers and other things?" she said. "It's just an outrageous and ludicrous excuse."

The president faced renewed allegations of racism last week following an Oval Office meeting in which he reportedly rejected a measure to grant visas to immigrants from "shithole countries." At least two senators who were present for the tense discussion — Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — later confirmed the nature of his remarks.

Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that Trump is "not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system" as critics of the administration continue to accuse him of racial bias.