Election 2020

Rangel: Trump 'Providing a Service' by Showing GOP 'Has Been Used by Bigots'

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) waits to take his seat at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Feb. 11, 2016.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said this election cycle is underscoring how “America has been indifferent to this stigma attached to slavery” and “never, even today, have ever dealt with it.”

The 23-term congressman told CNN this morning he’s “such an optimistic guy, I really believe that Trump is providing a service to this country.”

“People talk about racism on the Republican and Democrat’s administration, but this thing with slavery never goes away. And it goes beyond just black Americans because I don’t really think that the framers of the Constitution were thinking about Mexicans and Latins and Muslims. And so every decade we really test this sacred document to see whether it can be the ideals of what was in the Constitution,” Rangel said.

“When you find a guy like Trump that doesn’t play by the rules, that takes advantage of all of the people that have jumped over to be anti-Democratic, and he did it under Republican cover. The same way the Democrats had Dixiecrats and did it under Roosevelt. They didn’t brag about it, but they knew they were lynching and killing people. They never said anything about it.”

However, Rangel clarified, he wasn’t calling Roosevelt “a bigot when he accepted the Dixiecrats.”

“What Trump brings to it is that good Republicans and Americans now see that the Republican Party has been used. It has been used by bigots. It has been used by honest white folks who believe that blacks and immigrants have been responsible for them not succeeding. It’s been used by a whole lot of people,” he continued. “And Trump now is alienating all of the people that would like to be Republicans, but now he’s testing it.”

Rangel compared this campaign to a boxing match. “If you put in a professional boxer, like politicians are, against a guy that is used to fighting in a cage, without any respect for the truth, without any respect for the rules, it’s testing the system. Whoever thought of this system never thought about someone like Trump.”

“You probably are too young to remember a comedian called Professor Irwin Corey,” the 86-year-old politician added of the 102-year-old actor who was billed “The World’s Foremost Authority” on anything and everything. “You ask Corey anything, he’ll give you the wildest answer, but he was funny. But he never, never, never answered the question. And no matter how good you think you are, you can’t get Trump to give you any answer.”

“But that’s not true on any level of government, whether city council, the local school board. You ask a guy a question. You get an answer. You walk away and you agree or disagree. He challenges the truth. He challenges the system. And it’s not Republican or Democrats. He’s challenging our Constitution.”