Legendary NBA player Charles Barkley said in a new interview that American politicians “only talk to black people every four years,” Newsweek reports.
He made the comments on Michael Smerconish’s SiriusXM radio show, suggesting that neither Republicans nor Democrats really care about black communities. To illustrate his point, Barkley recalled a conversation with Alabama Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat he had campaigned for in 2017.
“We need to start holding you Democrats accountable,” he recalled telling Jones.
“Because they’ve been taking black people’s votes — and they only talk to black people every four years. All of these politicians only talk to black people every four years because they want their vote.”
Barkley helped Jones win against Republican Roy Moore, helping the Democratic Party win a United States Senate seat in Alabama for the first time in four decades.
He added that Democrats pander to black voters during election season, and abandon them once elected.
“When they get elected, they do nothing in the four years in between,” he said.
Barkley also talked about President Donald Trump’s supporters, arguing that most of them are not racist.
He said that he does not think “everyone who voted for Trump” is a racist — only “some” of the president’s supporters can be described as racist, according to the NBA legend.
As Newsweek notes, unlike many in the public sphere, Barkley has been hesitant to describe Trump as a racist. According to the Hall of Famer, the president needs to do a better job denouncing racism and white nationalism, but that does not necessarily mean that he is a racist.
“I’m leery of calling people ‘racist,” he said.
Trump “says some things that can be construed as racist…. When he has the opportunity to denounce white nationalism and things like that, he could do a much better job,” according to Barkley.
The former Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers power forward left the Republican Party in 2006, and he has previously expressed willingness to run for political office as a Democrat, as a Republican, and as an Independent.
President Trump: "The Washington establishment enacted ruinous trade policies that devastated millions of hardworking families and inflicted deep economic pain on many African-American communities." pic.twitter.com/uU25NhFbYI
— The Hill (@thehill) September 11, 2019
Barkley also revealed during the SiriusXM interview that he has been following the Democratic debates, expressing frustration with the DNC’s debate system. He added that he is supportive of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, noting that he also likes Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Although Barkley apparently does not think that Trump is a racist, many disagree, including prominent Democratic politicians.
The president has been involved in a number of controversies that people have described as racist. Most recently, as The Inquisitr reported, House Democrats accused the commander-in-chief of launching a racist attack at Rep. Elijah Cummings.