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Latest update : 2017-10-19

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton says Trump 'channels' racism

In an interview with FRANCE 24, veteran US civil rights leader Al Sharpton criticised President Donald Trump for his divisive rhetoric as well as his missteps on race relations and other issues. "He has become the polarizer-in-chief in this country," Sharpton said.

Sharpton also lashed out at Trump for allegedly making insensitive remarks to the widow of a US soldier killed in an ambush in Niger. Trump denies saying that the slain 25-year-old soldier "knew what he was signing up for". 

The US civil rights leader hailed the "sense of courage" of the many NFL players who have chosen to #TakeAKnee in protest during the national anthem. Sharpton says Trump's angry reaction to the players' protests are a "switch-and-bait" tactic to avoid real issues such as police brutality.

Asked whether he thought that, deep down, Trump is a racist, Sharpton said: "Deep down, he is the only one that knows."

But Sharpton added that the president certainly plays on and “channels” racism, going on to criticise Trump's ambivalent attitude to the white supremacists who rallied last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sharpton also defended former US president Barack Obama’s record on race relations, arguing that Obama did more than "any president since Lyndon Johnson" for black Americans and that Trump’s election was a "backlash" against those achievements.

By Marc PERELMAN

Archives

2018-09-17 The F24 Interview

Venezuela's exodus: How long can Latin America cope?

Although the Venezuelan migrant crisis was initially met with compassion in neighbouring countries, as the flow continued, tensions over the migrants grew and some neighbours...

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2018-09-17 The F24 Interview

Former ECB head Trichet: 'We avoided another Great Depression in 2008'

Ten years ago, the financial world was rocked by the collapse of a Wall Street giant. Lehman Brothers' spectacular bankruptcy sparked a global market sell-off, and was seen by...

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2018-09-17 The F24 Interview

Ahed Tamimi: ‘Any Palestinian starts resisting Israeli occupation from birth’

Almost two months after her release from an Israeli jail, 17-year-old Palestinian protest-icon Ahed Tamimi has granted an interview to FRANCE 24. Tamimi was speaking during a...

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2018-09-17 The F24 Interview

Saudi crown prince 'not well advised', former Qatari PM tells FRANCE 24

Former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani granted a 30-minute interview to FRANCE 24. He discussed relations with Saudi Arabia as well as the ongoing Gulf crisis,...

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2018-09-13 The F24 Interview

'The extreme far right has made itself appear more mainstream'

Since the Brexit referendum, voters in several European countries have expressed their anxiety at the ballot box about immigration, cultural values and security. Professor...

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