Rev. Al Sharpton sees Donald Trump as the white Don King
BY JENNIFER FERMINO
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
The Rev. Al Sharpton talks to the Daily News editorial board on Thursday (January 7). Sharpton said he sees striking similarities in Donald Trump and Don King.
The Rev. Al Sharpton thinks Donald Trump has run a “great” media campaign in his bid for the White House — and believes the Republican is like a white version of his pal Don King.
Sharpton, in a wide-ranging interview with the Daily News editorial board Thursday, said he’d probably get in trouble for saying it, but admitted that the similarities between the boxing promoter and the real estate tycoon are striking.
"My definition of Donald Trump is that if Don King had been born white, he'd be Donald Trump," Sharpton said.
Asked if he thought Trump believed some of the divisive rhetoric he's spewed on the campaign trail, Sharpton said, "About as much as Don King believed in ‘Rumble for the Jungle’” — a reference to the famous 1974 fight between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman that King promoted.
Sharpton said he’s not close with Trump, despite knowing him for decades socially through hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and King.
King, one of the most famous boxing promoters in history, introduced Sharpton to Trump in the 1980s after he opened Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. At the time, Sharpton was close with boxer Mike Tyson, who King was managing.
“Imagine sitting in a room with both of them (Trump and King),” Sharpton said. “That’s how I got to know Donald Trump!”
AL SHARPTON SAYS SOME CRITICISM OF DE BLASIO IS RELATED TO HIS MIXED RACE FAMILY
Sharpton said he still stands by his earlier assessment of Trump that the candidate is behaving like he’s playing the lounge instead of the main act, a riff of some advice that his late mentor James Brown gave him years before.
Sharpton told The Washington Post that Brown told him, “There’s a difference between the lounge act and the acts that play the main room.”
The difference, according to the hardest working man in showbiz, was the lounge act would try anything for attention, but the performer with top billing needed “polish.”
“When you get on the main stage, Reverend, whatever you did to get out the lounge don’t do that on the main stage,” Brown said, according to Sharpton.
Despite that, Sharpton — who ran for president in 2004 — thinks Trump has done a good job getting attention.
BRITAIN'S PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE BANNING DONALD TRUMP FROM ENTERING THE UNITED KINGDOM
“He has dominated the media, but the Iowa caucus is about organization,” he said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton with Donald Trump and Don King back in 2005.
Sharpton, who has not endorsed anyone in the presidential race, does not think any Republican can capture the black vote. He cautioned that Democrats should not take it for granted — including Hillary Clinton.
Sharpton said he is hearing from black “prime” voters that the candidates aren’t talking about issues they care about most, like the battle for voting rights. He said there is some lingering resentment over the 2008 race when the Clintons feuded with then-candidate Barack Obama. He said young black voters have little recollection of anything other than a black family in the White House.
“Imagine their culture shock (when there’s a white president again),” he said.