The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the Action Now Network, predicted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's "biased and bigoted" rhetoric will motivate racial minorities to vote and defeat the business mogul in the general election.
On March 10, Sharpton delivered remarks during a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast in Washington, D.C., He stated that if Trump becomes the GOP nominee, racial minorities will play a big role in toppling him come November, The Hill reports.
“People who have been on the side of the pool are ready to jump in the water if he’s the nominee,” Sharpton said. “When I address people around the country… nothing has caused a greater reaction, particularly among African-Americans and Latinos, than the thought that the first African-American president in history would be succeeded by someone that is the complete opposite.”
Sharpton was referencing how Trump was the figurehead of the “birther” movement, a conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was a not born a U.S. citizen. Trump has declined to comment on birtherism during the 2016 presidential cycle.
The NAN founder said that if the GOP establishment fails to stop Trump’s rise, it will be up to Democrats to ensure he is “just a one-time fluke.”
Sharpton urged Democratic leaders to make the choice between Trump and their own party nominee in November, to let African-American, Latino, Muslim and other minority voters to know what is at stake. He added that Obama would need to play a pivotal role in promoting the Democratic nominee.
For his part, Sharpton said that the NAN will reach out to minorities impacted by voting restrictions across the country, “to make sure people get past those impediments and have a turnout.”
Trump has waged a controversial campaign that has alienated several minority groups. He offended the Latino community by calling Mexican immigrants "criminals" and "rapists," offended American Muslims when he suggested placing a travel ban on their religion and offended African-Americans when he flip-flopped on denouncing the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
On March 9, 26-year-old Rakeem Jones, an African-American protester being escorted out of a Trump rally in North Carolina, was sucker-punched by a white Trump supporter.
“It’s happening at all these rallies now and they’re letting it ride,” Jones told The Washington Post. A witness of the incident, 32-year-old Ronnie C. Rouse, added that they were called the N-word by a another Trump supporter during the incident.
Also on March 9, during the Univision-hosted Democratic debate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont were asked if they believed Trump to be a racist, according to ThinkProgress.
Both candidates declined to call him an outright racist, but Sanders did slam Trump for his role in the birther movement while Clinton derided said his “trafficking in prejudice and paranoia has no place in our political system.”