Report: Sharpton Doesn’t ‘Quite Trust’ Hillary Clinton, Questions Her Understanding of Racial Issues

Al Sharpton / AP
• February 22, 2016 10:56 am


MSNBC host and controversial activist Al Sharpton doesn't "quite trust" Hillary Clinton, according to sources in a Politico article posted Monday, and he wouldn't fully endorse Clinton's understanding of racial issues.

Politico‘s Glenn Thrush reports:

People close to Sharpton say he likes Clinton, and is probably inclined to endorse her – but he doesn’t quite trust her, wants to see how her sputtering campaign performs, and is intent on exercising maximum leverage on the issues he cares most about: community policing, sentencing laws, urban economic development. When I turn the tape off, he says, "The minute you endorse you become a surrogate and I want to be an advocate."

Clinton's trust issues with the public have allowed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) to wage a sturdy challenge to her bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Sanders lost narrowly to Clinton in Nevada after crushing her in Hampshire, and he has won overwhelmingly among voters citing honesty as their most important trait for a candidate.

Sharpton added in the interview, however, that he would endorse a candidate at some point. Sharpton, a far-left, vocal supporter of the Barack Obama White House, has also met with Sanders in Harlem.

Sharpton's endorsement is a coveted one, given his influence in the African-American community. Asked by Thrush if Clinton "gets" race, Sharpton hedged.

"I think she’s familiar with it," Sharpton said. "She worked for Marian Wright Edelman as he marched for Dr. King, and I think that her husband and his Arkansas background and living more with blacks, they were more ‘accultured.’ But comfort and culture is two different things."

The GOP launched a scathing ad Monday targeting racially charged remarks by Bill and Hillary Clinton during the latter's unsuccessful campaign against Obama in 2008.

Thrush's interview largely focused on Sharpton's thoughts on GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, and Sharpton remarked "I don't dislike" Trump, suggesting one has to be a true New Yorker to comprehend him.

"I mean, I don’t like what he’s doing. But I don’t dislike him. He’s the kind of personality that is hard to dislike–he’s entertaining, let's put it that way … You’d have to be a New Yorker to understand him."