Add Al Sharpton to the list of black public figures attacked in a Trump tweet. The longtime civil-rights activist and MSNBC host is “a con man” and a “troublemaker” who “Hates Whites & Cops,” the president tweeted Monday morning.
Sharpton responded by tweeting a picture of him, Trump, Jesse Jackson, and James Brown at a 2006 convention for the National Action Network, Sharpton’s civil-rights organization.
In a separate tweet, Sharpton responded to Trump’s calling him a “con man,” writing, “Trump says I’m a troublemaker & con man. I do make trouble for bigots. If he really thought I was a con man he would want me in his cabinet.”
The back-and-forth came as Sharpton traveled to Baltimore for a Monday press conference alongside former RNC chair and onetime Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele. The two are planning to underline the “bipartisan outrage in the black community” over Trump’s racist tweets attacking Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings and his district.
In the Saturday-morning tweets, Trump called Cummings’s Baltimore-area district a “rodent infested” place where “no human being would want to live.” He also criticized Cummings for “25 years of all talk, no action!”
The tweets reflected Trump’s long history of using the language of “infestation” when talking about people of color. They also sparked a wave of criticism from Democrats and a few Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi labeled Trump’s tweets a “racist attack,” and California senator Kamala Harris, a 2020 presidential candidate, tweeted that “it’s disgraceful the president has chosen to start his morning disparaging this great American city.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, defended his boss, saying on Fox News Sunday that Trump’s diatribe against Cummings “has absolutely zero to do with race.”