During one of the many contentious exchanges that occurred with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this weekend, President Donald Trump randomly invoked Al Sharpton’s name in response to an unrelated question about renaming military bases. Now the reverend and MSNBC host is firing back.
When Wallace asked Trump if he really plans to veto a bill that would rename bases like Fort Bragg that are named after Confederate generals, pointing out that “the military says they’re for this,” Trump shot back, “I don’t care what the military says. I’m supposed to make the decision.”
“We’re going to name it after the Rev. Al Sharpton?” the president asked, before going off on a tangent about the two “beautiful World Wars” that were “vicious and horrible.”
Later on Sunday, a reporter for TMZ tracked Sharpton down in New York City and asked him what he thinks Trump meant by his comment.
“Well the only way it makes sense—and it’s hard to make sense out of a nonsensical person—is that I’ve been very public in advocating the changing of the names of these bases and bringing down the statues of Confederate generals,” he said, a bit generously.
Noting that he has run television commercials about the issue, he added, “Since he watches TV all the time, it probably was in his mind. Because he doesn’t read intelligence briefings, but he watches television.”
“But I would like to school him,” Sharpton continued. “I was never in the military and usually you’d name the military bases after military people.” He went on to point out that like the president he did not serve in the military, but unlike the president he “didn’t use any false information to not go to the military,” alluding to Trump’s bone spurs diagnosis.
Asked if he thinks Trump was joking during the Fox News interview, Sharpton said, “I think that it was failed sarcasm, and I think it was because I’m usually the one that stands up to him on these issues.”
He said that when Trump “thinks race, I’m one of the names that comes to him, because like a flea that won’t get out of his eye, I’ve been the racial person that has been all in his eye for decades about his bigotry and his racism.”
Finally, Sharpton asked Trump, “Why would you want to fight passionately to honor bigots unless it was fine with you? And if bigotry is fine with you, then the noun form of that is that you are a bigot.”