MSNBC's Sharpton Accuses GOP of 'Demonizing' Single Mothers

On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton accused Republicans of "demonizing" single mothers and placing "blame" on them for poverty in response to several Republicans who have recently complained about government policies that have encouraged poor women to become single mothers.

Sharpton plugged the segment:

Ahead, President Obama makes a powerful statement about his personal commitment to fighting inequality. Also, Republicans know who's really to blame for poverty in America: single moms. So much for the GOP trying to show they care about the poor. Stay with us.

As he began the segment, after a clip of President Barack Obama talking about poverty, Sharpton griped:

And while this President is speaking passionately about being raised by a single mom, Republicans are blaming single mothers for poverty in America. Just yesterday, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann released a statement saying, "When government has policies that induce people to either not get married or to bear a child out of wedlock, poverty persists." She's not the only one spouting this nonsense.

After a clip of Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert recounting the story of a girl who was encouraged by her friends to drop out of school and have a baby so she could receive government money, Sharpton responded:

Single moms don't deserve to be demonized. And if the GOP is serious about fixing poverty, they need to change their rhetoric and get their facts straight.

After bringing about Maryland Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards as a guest, Edwards recounted her own experience as a single mother, leading Sharpton to respond:

Well, I was raised by a single mom, and she could give lessons on family values. They don't know what they're talking about.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, January 9, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: Ahead, President Obama makes a powerful statement about his personal commitment to fighting inequality. Also, Republicans know who's really to blame for poverty in America: single moms. So much for the GOP trying to show they care about the poor. Stay with us.

(...)

SHARPTON: And while this President is speaking passionately about being raised by a single mom, Republicans are blaming single mothers for poverty in America. Just yesterday, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann released a statement saying, "When government has policies that induce people to either not get married or to bear a child out of wedlock, poverty persists." She's not the only one spouting this nonsense.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): -the story over and over and over. How as a young girl in high school she was bored with high school and someone suggested, "Well, why don't you just drop out of high school and have a baby. And then the government will send you a check, and they'll send you a check for every baby you have out of wedlock."

SHARPTON: Single moms don't deserve to be demonized. And if the GOP is serious about fixing poverty, they need to change their rhetoric and get their facts straight. Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat of Maryland. Thanks for coming on the show tonight.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D-MD): Thank you, Reverend Al. I have to tell you, listening to that, listening to my colleagues, I'm really disgusted, especially as a woman who's a single mom who's raised an amazing young man, not just on my own, but with a lot of help. And I just think that those folks have no idea what they are talking about.

SHARPTON: Well, I was raised by a single mom, and she could give lessons on family values. They don't know what they're talking about. But, you know, RNC Chairman Priebus claims that Democrats don't actually want the anti-poverty measures they're fighting for. Listen to this, Congresswoman.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: They don't want this to pass, Lars. What they want to do is they want to talk about these things. They want to talk about minimum wage and what they want to do ultimately is create a campaign issue, this sort of rich versus poor, the same old thing that they can do and avoid ObamaCare. That's what they want.

SHARPTON: So we really don't care about inequality. We don't care about poverty and hunger and food stamps and minimum wage. We just don't want to talk about ObamaCare is what he's saying about those on the other side of this debate.

[EDWARDS]

SHARPTON: You know, congresswoman, we learned today that for the first time in history, most Congressional lawmakers are millionaires. Now, we don't begrudge success. But is this why some of your colleagues can't understand the importance of things like unemployment benefits or minimum wage that is not in their reality personally?

[EDWARDS]

SHARPTON: Yes, and you know what is so insensitive to me, Congresswoman, is even if you want to make some kind of value judgment or moral judgment on a parent, and I don't think you have the right to do that, why do you penalize the child? And I think that that is, I mean, children born shouldn't be suffering for the judgment or non-judgment of their parents. And I don't think you should even be judging their parents. But Congresswoman Donna Edwards, thank you for your time this evening.

-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.