Sharpton is right on this one. If the Punk in Charge makes another “Charlottesville mistake” in Arizona – thing are going to hell in a handbasket in a hurry. He will be surrounded by supporters as well as protesters.
If he pulls his “Beat the bums up” act again, it is going to open the door wide for serious violence.
If he pardons the racist Joe Arpaio… He has lit the fuse.
Big difference in being a candidate and the small yipping mutt in charge.
Time for some really, really, really conciliatory words.
The Reverend Al and Rep. Jerry Nadler share their fears about race and anti-Semitism in the age of Trump.
America’s reality TV president has made America face its reality, on TV.
Now, civil rights leaders across the country worry what will come from Donald Trump’s equivocation on racism and hatred—and the country’s struggle in the week and a half since Charlottesville to deal with a problem much bigger than a few hundred wannabe Nazis with Tiki torches. Civil rights leaders talk about deep, visceral fear about where this could lead, and not in the usual political “concern” or “objections.” They see a searing landscape of possibilities ahead: Riots. Violence at protests and counter-protests. Deep psychological and emotional damage, especially among children.
“We’re in a poisonous atmosphere that is being increased by the president of the United States. It’s like turning on the gas in a room,” Rev. Al Sharpton told me, speaking for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast.
“Any match could lead to an explosion, and we’re getting that kind of atmosphere from this president.”
Into the cauldron: Trump’s rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, which White House aides reportedly worry will stoke more tension even before he opens his mouth for a speech that few expect will do anything to change course or apologize.
Sharpton would like Trump to say he’s sorry, to turn down the temperature. But he acknowledges that would probably be meaningless to him at this point.
“He’s getting further and further and further away from being able to change his own narrative,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton knows about protests, and he knows about Trump. He sat for the interview right after finishing his regular Saturday morning rally at National Action Network headquarters here, just off Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, where Korey Wise—one of the wrongly accused Central Park Five whom Trump called for the death penalty for—was in the crowd applauding vintage Sharpton lines like, “Maybe the pope needs to send it back,” a dig at Trump’s giving Pope Francis a copy of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Sharpton isn’t the only veteran of decades of fighting with Trump who sees last week as a new frontier—and now looking for new ways to take him on. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who made the future president’s enemies list 30 years ago while he was still in the New York Assembly for holding up a development on the Upper West Side, said he was still shocked to see anti-Semitism encouraged from this White House, and that’s why he’s written a resolution that would make Trump the first president since Andrew Jackson to be censured.
“If someone has no personal anti-Semitic or anti-black or racist feelings, but is willing to exploit those feelings for political advantage—is that morally superior?” Nadler said in a separate conversation for the Off Message podcast. “I think it’s terrible.” (The censure resolution is not going anywhere: During a CNN town hall Monday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan said censuring Trump would be “the absolutely worst thing we should do,” reasoning that Republicans joining with Democrats on this would be “some partisan hack fest.”)
Both men see this as a critical, but not surprising, moment for American history.
Sharpton is holding a rally next week, a march from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Aug. 28. It’s an annual event he organizes, but this year it seems to be taking on special significance—and he’s now stepping up both the number of expected participants and the amount of security accordingly.
In 2012, Sharpton accused Trump of peddling racism throughout his birther phase. They met in Trump Tower that November—“to apologize for calling me a racist—very nice, apology accepted!” was the @realDonaldTrump tweet, though the reverend himself said then and says now both that he didn’t call Trump himself a racist, and that he didn’t apologize.
Sharpton still deliberately isn’t calling Trump a racist, or an anti-Semite. “I don’t want to reduce this to that. His policies are there. That speaks for itself. If we make it personal, he wins,” Sharpton said. “I used to call people names. Don’t give people the easy way out.” But, Sharpton added: “I think he has empowered anti-Semites and racists. I think he has brought them from the shadows into the mainstream and I think he’s emboldened them, and I think that’s a dangerous course for the country.”…