There are figures that leftists revere, and Al Sharpton is one of those figures. The man styling himself as “reverend” has been around for years thanks to making racism against black people and social justice a central issue. As such, he is often protected.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida doesn’t care about all that, and while at a House Judiciary Committee hearing about policing practices where Sharpton was considered an “expert,” Gaetz confronted Sharpton with statements he had made in the past about other races in an attempt to make it clear that Sharpton is not the best guy to take advice from.
Gaetz began by having Sharpton answer for a resolution submitted by then Rep. Joe Scarborough (now Sharpton’s fellow MSNBC host) back in 2000, which was made for “Condemning the racist and anti-Semitic views of the Reverend Al Sharpton.”
“Mr. Scarborough’s resolution began by saying, ‘Whereas the Reverend Al Sharpton has referred to members of the Jewish faith as “bloodsucking [J]ews”, and “Jew bastards”,'” Gaetz said. “My question to you is, does Mr. Scarborough’s assertion that you said these things, is that true or did you not say those things?”
Sharpton denied ever having said these things, calling them “patently untrue.” From here, Gaetz and Sharpton devolved into trying to talk over each other as Gaetz attempted to push more questions about things Sharpton had said, and Sharpton defending himself while attempting to run out the clock.
Eventually, Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and immediately took Sharpton’s side, banging his gavel and saying that Sharpton should get all the time he needs to defend himself since “aspersions” were cast on him.
“No, I’m sorry, Mr. Chairman, aspersions weren’t cast,” replied Gaetz, noting that he’s only asking if Scarborough’s allegations were true.
This only caused Nadler to bang his gavel harder, and let Sharpton continue.
Regardless, the back and forth continued with Sharpton either denying or making excuses for, racist things he said or did in the past. He was ultimately successful in running out the clock on Gaetz, but Rep. Jim Jordan yielded his time to Gaetz when it was his turn.
As Gaetz continued his inquiries, Democrats became upset. Both Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee and Nadler called Gaetz’s questioning “obnoxious,” which Gaetz objected to. Nadler continued by saying that “unfortunately” the rules of congress allow Gaetz to ask these questions.
Gaetz made his point, however.
“Reverend Sharpton has come before the House Judiciary Committee as a purported expert on policing. Yet his bigoted statements undermine the bipartisan work we should be doing to ensure that all citizens are able to come together and have safe communities.”
While Sharpton had a solid excuse for some of the things that he had said or done, the majority of his past comments were indeed racist and bigoted. While Democrats continue to sell themselves as the party of anti-racism, they continue to hold up figures like Sharpton who have no business representing anti-racist peoples.
What’s more, the fact that Democrats were so adamant to defend Sharpton only makes them look all the worse.