Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, looking to shore up his presidential aspirations and garner support for his assumed presidential run in 2020, met with someone whose history has been laced with racism and anti-Semitism: Rev. Al Sharpton.
The two men met on Friday, as a spokesperson for Sharpton confirmed, asserting, “They spoke and agreed to meet within the next couple of weeks and they had a great conversation,” according to Buzzfeed News.
Before his loss in the Texas senatorial race to Senator Ted Cruz (D-TX), O’Rourke coyly stated that he wasn’t planning to run for elective office in 2020, but less than three weeks after the election, he stated at a townhall that after he finished his term in January 2019, “Amy and I will think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community.” When reporters asked if he was shifting his position about running in 2020, O’Rourke replied, "Yeah, it is … Running for Senate, I was 100% focused on our campaign, winning that race, and then serving the next six years in the United States Senate. That was 100% of our focus. Now that that is no longer possible, you know, we're thinking through a number of things. Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out."
The Washington Post reported that O’Rourke met with Obama on November 16. Between that meeting and Friday’s meeting with Sharpton, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, a favorite of Obama’s and his staffers, announced he would not seek the 2020 presidential nomination. That left the door open for O’Rourke to approach personages in the Democratic Party loyal to Obama. As Buzzfeed notes, “He’s already had positive signs in that regard — Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama aide who now cohosts the popular Pod Save America podcast, laid out 'The Case For Beto O’Rourke' at the end of November.”
Prominent members of the black community, including LeBron James and Beyonce, showed signs of support for O’Rourke after he said of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, “And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, any time, anywhere, in any place.”
But for O’Rourke to seek Sharpton’s approval is a different matter; as Walter Williams pointed out in 2015, Sharpton has made comments like these over the years: “White folks was in the caves while we (blacks) was building empires. ... We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was. ... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it … So (if) some cracker come and tell you ‘Well, my mother and father blood go back to the Mayflower,’ you better hold your pocket. That ain’t nothing to be proud of. That means their forefathers was crooks … If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”
In addition, Sharpton’s role in the Tawana Bradley case, in which a young black girl claimed she had been raped by six white men, a charge that was later found to be false, elicited some comments from a Sharpton aide that Sharpton was trying to stir up anti-white sentiment among blacks; Sharpton’s role in inciting the Crown Heights riots in 1991 which targeted Jews has also been heavily documented.