Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Thursday that he was not being serious when he invited Russian hackers to launch a cyber-attack against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, The Hill reported.

"Of course I'm being sarcastic," Trump argued in footage aired on Fox News. "They don't even know if it's Russia, if it's China, if it's somebody else. Who knows who it is?"

Trump set off another round of criticism when he said Russia would be "rewarded by our press" if hackers dug into Clinton's email server during a press conference.

"The real problem is what was said on those emails from the Democratic National Committee," he told Fox. "It's disgraceful. They talk about religion. They talk about race. They talk about all sorts of things, including women."

Trump neglected to mention his own habit of "talking about women," including Fox host Megyn Kelly, earlier in the campaign.

Watch footage of Trump's remarks, as posted online, below.