If you were surrounded by reporters and customers screaming “racist” at you, would you not say “I’m not racist”?
The fact that he even did this interview means that he has already been called racist multiple times, so of course he would address the concern that the public and press are harassing him so much about. He didn’t phone up the journalists just to declare to them that he isn’t racist. They came to him, like moths to a flame- all brandishing their anti-right ideologies.
We live in a world where one cannot be afraid for one’s people without those very same people lashing out at them.