Civil rights activist Al Sharpton was taken aback when he received a call Thursday morning from a long-time antagonist, President-elect Donald Trump.
According to Sharpton, Trump called to speak about their disagreements and thank him for comments he made about Trump’s business success on his appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“We did talk briefly. I was surprised and candid about our sharp disagreements and so was he,” Sharpton told The New York Post. “He met with Mayor de Blasio who is critical, like I am, of him.”
The two have been on different sides of the issues since the 1980s and the election hasn’t changed a thing, Sharpton said.
“We were straight up with each other,” Sharpton said. “I will continue to disagree with him. I’m not psychoanalyzing why he called. He and I were clear on our positions.”
Although Sharpton and Trump have staked out opposite positions on most political issues, Sharpton has drawn a fine line between Trump the man and Trump the public figure.
“I have known him a long time. I’ve been both an opponent of his, I’ve marched on him, and he’s come down to the National Action Network. He’s a tough guy. He’s a straight shooter. But usually straight shooting on things I disagree with,” Sharpton said Thursday on MSNBC.
Sharpton said Trump will be “reasonable” as president, but will still have his feet held to the fire. Trump’s actions as president-elect, Sharpton said, suggest to him that “maybe they’re going to govern in a way that many of us are going to be protesting, many of us are going to be holding him accountable but they’re not unreasonable.”
He noted that a Jan. 14 march in Washington as part of Martin Luther King Day weekend is not “anti-Trump,” but designed to ensure the civil rights agenda has a major place in the new administration.
While on MSNBC, Sharpton also discussed Trump’s New York City past.
“Trump and his father were outer borough guys who felt they were fighting the Manhattan elite that controlled real estate and everything else,” Sharpton said. “Even though we would always debate and fight, we always saw it the same way, outer borough guys who were underestimated. He was a Queens guy. He had money, but he was a Queens guy. He was not accepted in the power spots. He didn’t have breakfast at The Regency.”
Sharpton said that this background is critical to understanding Trump the political figure.
“And I think his taking on the CNNs and the New York Times was that you guys always underestimated us,” he said. “But I think that therein lies the strategic way to fight him. Because he wants to show he can be bigger than he’s expected to be.”
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