A number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates praised and defended the Rev. Al Sharpton in response to an attack from President Donald Trump.
In response to Sharpton making a trip to Baltimore after Trump penned a series of derogatory tweets about the city, the president shot back Monday morning that Sharpton was "a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score" who "hates Whites & Cops!"
I have known Al for 25 years. Went to fights with him & Don King, always got along well. He "loved Trump!" He would ask me for favors often. Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing. Must have intimidated Comcast/NBC. Hates Whites & Cops! https://t.co/ZwPZa0FWfN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2019
California senator Kamala Harris first responded with a tweet that Sharpton "has spent his life fighting for what's right and working to improve our nation" and has "done so much for our country."
.@TheRevAl has spent his life fighting for what's right and working to improve our nation, even in the face of hate. It's shameful, yet unsurprising that Trump would continue to attack those who have done so much for our country.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 29, 2019
Others following Harris's lead included Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
.@TheRevAl has dedicated his life to the fight for justice for all. No amount of racist tweets from the man in the White House will erase that—and we must not let them divide us. I stand with my friend Al Sharpton in calling out these ongoing attacks on people of color.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 29, 2019
I've known @TheRevAl for decades and Trump's characterization is not only disrespectful, it's untrue. While @TheRevAl was pushing for justice in the teachings of Dr. King, Trump was calling for the execution of five innocent black boys. https://t.co/UhR1cpjpxj
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) July 29, 2019
Warren and Harris were among the many 2020 contenders who have courted Sharpton for his endorsement, including Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Beto O'Rourke. Sharpton, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, had a much-publicized lunch with Harris in February.
Now an MSNBC host, Sharpton has a controversial history of anti-Semitic and racist comments. Among other instances, he has referred to Jews as "white interlopers,"called whites "crackers," Greek philosophers "homos," and said "White folks was in the caves while we was building empires." Most famously, days before the Crown Heights riots Sharpton said, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."