DNC Chairman Tom Perez publicly thanked Rev. Al Sharpton for his leadership, applauding him for "standing up for everyone" despite the activist's history of offensive remarks about Jews and caucasians.
"Reverend Sharpton, thank you for your leadership," Perez said during his introductory speech for the second Democratic debate.
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"Thank you for standing up for not simply African-American communities. Thank you for standing up for everybody," Perez added.
Just before thanking Sharpton, Perez blasted President Donald Trump for being a divisive and racist leader.
"Presidents are supposed to be uniters, not dividers. Presidents should inspire, not exhaust us. Presidents should make our lives better, not worse," Perez said. "And so in addition to being incredibly divisive and singling out faith leaders in a remarkably racist way."
Sharpton, an influential civil rights leader, has referred to Jews as "white interlopers," called white people "crackers" and before the Crown Heights riots said, "if the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."
Several 2020 Democratic candidates defended Sharpton after President Trump criticized him, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) writing that Sharpton has "done so much for our country" and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) writing that the Reverend "has dedicated his life to the fight for justice for all."