KUSA — Walker Stapleton's spokesman says Stapleton was joking when he called local media "phony news organizations" over the weekend.

Stapleton was referring to Westword and the Colorado Independent, which first reported his comments.

The Stapleton team says it was a joke and that the Republican candidate for governor has a "demonstrated track record of respect for the press."

Democrats are criticizing Stapleton for appearing at the event with his ally Tom Tancredo - the former congressman who got into the race for governor briefly in order to defend white nationalists.

Tancredo was on the board of VDARE, which even Tancredo's former protege Congressman Mike Coffman calls "a white supremacist organization."

RELATED | Tom Tancredo's complicated relationship status with the Republican Party

Tancredo also unapologetically promotes false, anti-Muslim propaganda on social media.

RELATED | We asked Tom Tancredo why he was sharing false information

Next asked Stapleton's campaign if he was reconsidering his relationship with Tancredo considering his involvement with anti-Muslim bigotry and white nationalism, but couldn't get a straight answer.

Stapleton's spokesman would only say that Stapleton doesn't endorse everything Tancredo says or does.