In the Crown Heights riots in 1991, Sharpton engaged in inflammatory antisemitic rhetoric, stating: “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” In 1994, referring to gays, he said, “White folks was [sic] in caves while we was building empires…. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.” (Now, of course, he says he is opposed to homophobia.) And referring to Mitt Romney and his Mormon religion, Sharpton said, only five years ago, “as for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don’t worry about that; that’s a temporary situation.”
This is the man who Milbank writes is “arguably the most prominent civil rights figure in the country…[and] a kingmaker in Democratic politics.” If Milbank is right about Sharpton — and the evidence indicates that he is — it reflects just how much the old-fashioned, centrist liberalism of the past no longer exists, and just how far to the extreme left the Democratic Party has fallen.
As for Sharpton’s role in the Trayvon Martin case, he assumes, as he did a quarter of a century ago when the Tawana Brawley case took place, that Martin was killed by Zimmerman because the man who murdered young Martin was a white racist, motivated by racist hate. Mark Hemingway points out Sharpton’s role in the Weekly Standard:
Despite scant evidence that race was a factor in Martin’s death—George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin while on a neighborhood watch patrol, is Hispanic and claims the killing was self-defense—Sharpton came to Florida to tape on location, thundering that Martin was a victim of racial injustice. Not surprisingly, Sharpton promulgated at least one glaring untruth, claiming Martin was in the morgue for three days before his parents were informed he’d been killed. “How do you leave this kid in the room like he’s a worthless piece of meat?” he railed. However, this is contradicted by the fact Martin’s parents were discussing their son’s killing on a local news broadcast the next day.
The facts don’t count with Reverend Al. They don’t have to, when a writer like Milbank has told us he has “mellowed,” and even Rupert Murdoch’s enterprises feel the need to sponsor his activism and sing his praises. With Sharpton manning the barricades and continuing to play the race card in the Trayvon Martin shooting, one has to ask: can George Zimmerman be expected to get a fair hearing by the court or a fair trial in such an atmosphere?