Rev. Al Sharpton Open to Meeting with Trump to Discuss Diversity Efforts
Donald Trump's high unfavorability ratings with black and Hispanic voters is one of his biggest obstacles to winning the Whie House.
At a National Press Club meeting Thursday, Rev. Al Sharpton told PJ Media's Nicholas Ballasy that he'd like to see Trump release a list of non-white employees in an effort to boost morale with a voters outside his current base. Sharpton hasn't met with Trump this year, although he briefly spoke with the current GOP nominee in 2011 regarding the 2012 election.
“I haven’t sought a meeting with him nor has he sought a meeting with me. I think it would be interesting though, since the subject matter today is corporations, to see whether he has blacks or browns on the board or in senior management of any of his companies. I think one of the things he should do is to say to the public—since he’s predicting he’ll win the black vote—these are the blacks in the Trump organization at this level,” Sharpton told Ballasy. “These are the blacks that we contract and do business with, so you can understand that I will give business opportunities because I’ve done it. He ought to come forward with all of that — his contractors, his subcontractors that are black—so that he can have the basis of saying he will win the black vote,” Sharpton added.
Though it appears unlikely, Sharpton wondered if Trump may already have a diversity officer, much like Hillary Clinton's campaign does.
Omarosa Manigault, an African American one-time contestant on Trump’s TV show "The Apprentice," is a Trump supporter and has frequently defended the GOP nominee on major networks. “I don’t know if he has a diversity officer on his campaign, maybe it’s Omarosa, I don’t know,” Sharpton said.
Despite Sharpton's negative experiences with Trump in 201—which involved a heated debate of the birther issue—he is willing to investigate the potential range of support for Trump.
“The issue is not whether Mr. Trump is racist or not. I think the issue is whether he is playing to a racial climate and in some cases exacerbating it, and I’ve said publicly and I’ve said to him, that I think a lot of what he is saying and a lot of what he is doing is certainly playing to a race element,” Sharpton said. “I think that is unhealthy and I think that is something that is beneath what the American electorate needs to be facing in the 2016 election. Whether he’s personally a racist or whether he’s playing a role to get votes, I have no idea. The effect is certainly that.”