Sharpton reminded viewers that Trump called for “The Exonerated Five,” a group of Black and Latinx teen boys falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1989, to be put to death.

Days after Donald Trump commented that Black people relate to him because of his legal troubles, Rev. Al Sharpton spoke out against the likely Republican presidential nominee during an appearance on Morning Joe.

Sharpton, who was a supporter of “The Exonerated five,” a group of Black and Latinx young men who were falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1989, has been vocal in recent years, reminding the public of Trump’s full-page advertisements in New York City newspapers, including the New York Daily News and New York Times, which called for the then-teenagers to get the death penalty.

The Guardian conducted an extended interview in 2016 with Yusuf Salaam, one of the exonerated five, while Trump’s popularity in the Republican Party was soaring.

“He was the firestarter,” Salaam said regarding Trump, “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty. I knew that this famous person calling for us to die was very serious.

“We were all afraid. Our families were afraid. Our loved ones were afraid. For us to walk around as if we had a target on our backs, that’s how things were. Had this been the 1950s, that sick type of justice that they wanted—somebody from that darker place of society would have most certainly came to our homes, dragged us from our beds and hung us from trees in Central Park. It would have been similar to what they did to Emmett Till.”

Trump has never apologized for his advertisements or the effect they had on the families of those he wrongfully accused of the crime. 

Sharpton, meanwhile, told Morning Joe that he has never seen or heard Trump speak up on behalf of Black people who have been wrongfully accused of crimes in America. 

Sharpton also spoke at length about the motivations of Trump’s appearance at the event, a black-tie event for Black conservatives in South Carolina ahead of Saturday’s primary win.

“Well first of all, let’s be clear, Donald Trump is using the stereotype of Blacks being criminals, and therefore we would gravitate towards somebody in a mugshot,” Sharpton said. “Blacks were arrested to get the right to vote, that’s what the marches were about. It is the epitome of an insult also when you think of the fact that is a Black man that is prosecuting him in Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, a Black woman in Georgia, a Black woman, the New York State Attorney General, Leticia James. So he’s saying that Black people would relate to someone indicted for trying to undermine the elections by Blacks, but we would go with him rather than them?”

#BlackLivesMatter #TrumpCriticism #AlSharpton #insult

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