Al Sharpton Complains That President Obama Discourages Him From Discussing Race
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton mentioned race 215 times last year according to research done by my colleague Katie Yoder. And yet, despite the Reverend’s obsession with race, the MSNBC host seems to believe he isn’t able to discuss race as much as he would like.
The bombastic MSNBC host appeared on Morning Joe on January 20 to complain that President Obama personally told him and other civil rights leaders to not push the narrative that the president isn’t liked by many Americans simply because President Obama is black. Reverend Al lamented that, “he has discouraged us who firmly believe a lot of people are against him because he's black and we still do.”[See video after jump.]
The segment began with co-host Joe Scarborough discussing why President Obama has experienced declining poll numbers over the past few months. Scarborough pointed out that:
...if there is a drop-off of white voters, these are white voters who voted for him twice. So obviously, there is not a race connection to those votes that have fallen off.
In other words, the support for President Obama among white voters has dropped not because of the color of his skin but the content of his ideology and his presidential leadership.
After briefly agreeing with Joe, Sharpton quickly jumped into complaining about the inability to discuss race as much as he would like. The Tawana Brawley-hoax perpetrator vehemently defended his belief that many Americans are “against him because he’s black” and how President Obama has “said, no, I don't agree with you pushing that and he's not said anything differently in public than he said in private.”
Sharpton provided no evidence to support his claim that Americans dislike President Obama because he’s black, but simply insisted, “many of us believe that race has been a factor.” So not only does Sharpton believe he should discuss race more when talking about President Obama, it seems as though the Reverend is unhappy that the president doesn’t exploit the race issue himself.
Nowhere in the segment did Scarborough bother to challenge Sharpton’s claims or to point out that the MSNBC host already talks about race an excessive amount. Instead the Morning Joe host weakly complained that he remembered:
a private conversation I had with Reverend Al how frustrating the next four years would be for him and other civil rights leaders because this president couldn't say certain things about race that say Bill Clinton could.
If Sharpton thinks that mentioning race 215 times in one year isn’t enough, then it has become painfully obvious that the MSNBC host seeks to exploit race at every turn and will do anything and everything he can to play the race card to smear President Obama’s critics.
See relevant transcript below.
January 20, 2014
7:21 a.m. Eastern
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But, I mean, I don't know that we can dig into the polls. It could be Reverend Al, white liberals who are disappointed, let's say, Edward Snowden, NSA. You're saying no.
DAVID REMNICK: I don't think there are that many. Liberals would have no place to go.
SCARBOROUGH: I know you're not suggesting that these people have become racist over the past year.
REMNICK: No, what I'm saying Joe is I think that white liberals might be disappointed about this subject or that subject, but where else are they going to go?
SCARBOROUGH: You're talking about the drop-off though. My point Reverend Al is if there is a drop-off of white voters, these are white voters who voted for him twice. So obviously, there is not a race connection to those votes that have fallen off.
AL SHARPTON: There is not a race connection maybe to those votes or many of those votes. But I can say this. In the five years he has been in office, in every meeting that I've been in with civil rights leaders having meetings with the president, I think I've been with all of them, he has discouraged us who firmly believe a lot of people are against him because he's black and we still do. And he has said, no, I don't agree with you pushing that and he's not said anything differently in public than he said in private. And what he said to David in this piece, he has lately, I think, started saying that but he just never used race as the fact against him. Though, many of us believe that race has been a factor. So I think he has been very consistent there as long as I've known him and certainly as president. I think he wrongly is blamed for using a race card but I think many of us are frustrated he hasn't brought up race as it relates to him or that he has.
REMNICK: I think Reverend Sharpton that it is true that there are people in the Congressional Black Caucus who are disappointed in president Obama for that very reason.
SCARBOROUGH: He's been elected twice, though.
REMNICK: Disappointed in him for not speaking more firmly and clearly about race in the terms that the reverend is talking about.
SCARBOROUGH: He can't, though. We have said this from 2008 to 2009. I remember a private conversation I had with Reverend Al how frustrating the next four years would be for him and other civil rights leaders because this president couldn't say certain things about race that say Bill Clinton could.
REMNICK: It's a very careful conversation. So when you ask him about income inequality or inequality of opportunity, or marijuana, he very carefully will say, first it's always about class. It's about poor. And then he'll say, of course, the majority of poor people in this country are people of color and so on. He is parsed it out absolutely carefully.