Sharpton: My Friendship With Trump Ended Over the Birther Controversy

Al Sharpton / AP
• May 16, 2017 12:23 pm


Civil rights activist Al Sharpton described a roller coaster friendship over the years with President Trump in an interview posted Tuesday by VICE, saying it ended for good because of Trump's "birther" comments about Barack Obama.

The two New York mainstays became friends in the 1980s but found themselves politically at odds over the years. Trump suggested beginning in 2011 that Obama, a top ally of Sharpton's, may have been born in Kenya, and Sharpton said that led to an argument and an end of their friendship:

VICE reports:

Before Donald Trump became president, he and Al Sharpton had a sort of on-again off-again friendship. So when the civil rights activist visited Desus & Mero, the hosts had him set the record straight about their relationship.

As Sharpton explains in the interview, the two New York natives began their rocky friendship in the 1980s and have often butted heads politically.

"Down through the years we saw each other, fell out, made up, fell out," he explained.

But their friendship officially ended after Trump made comments about the Obama birther controversy.

"We had a meeting and argued about it, and that was it from there," he said, concluding that it is scary to see Donald as president of the United States.

Trump began casting doubt on Obama's birthplace in 2011, saying he dispatched investigators to find out the true nature of Obama's birthplace.

"His grandmother in Kenya said, ‘Oh, no, he was born in Kenya and I was there and I witnessed the birth,'" Trump said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" in 2011. "She's on tape. I think that tape's going to be produced fairly soon. Somebody is coming out with a book in two weeks, it will be very interesting."

Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. Trump eventually conceded this fact during the 2016 campaign.

Obama mocked Trump about the controversy during his routine at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Association dinner.