No reason to think Sharpton isn’t still acting as Obama’s official race baiter in Ferguson.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is the White House’s man on the ground in Ferguson.
The 59-year-old Sharpton has become a key adviser to President Obama on race issues, according to Politico, and is acting as his liaison in the racially charged St. Louis suburb, where the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown led to days of riots.
Sharpton arrived at the protest site in Ferguson three days after the shooting and quickly began briefing the White House.
“There’s a trust factor with The Rev from the Oval Office on down,” a White House official told Politico.“He gets it, and he’s got credibility in the community that nobody else has got. There’s really no one else out there who does what he does.”
While in Ferguson, Sharpton met with the Brown family and reported back directly to Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest aides.
Sharpton was directed to find out specific information, including what the Brown family wanted from the White House, Politico reports.
The veteran activist, who is also leading Saturday’s march on Staten Island against alleged police brutality in New York, even suggested Jarrett turn up the heat on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and appoint a special prosecutor to replace St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch in the Brown case.
“We’re not going to get a fair investigation with that guy, he’s got to go,” Sharpton told Jarrett, according to one person familiar with the exchange.
A spokeswoman for Jarrett, who has been in contact with Nixon, declined to say if she had passed along Sharpton’s demand.
Sharpton said he doesn’t plan to wait forever and plans “a series of nonviolent protests to get McCullough out of the case within the next few weeks, when everything cools down a bit.”
Politico interviewer Glenn Thrust didn’t gloss over Sharpton’s earlier days, when he was convicted of defaming a white upstate prosecutor whom he falsely accused of raping black teenager Tawana Brawley.
Or when Sharpton inflamed the tense situation in New York City after the 1991 Crown Heights riots by railing against Jewish “diamond merchants.”
But that troubling history — and his much-mocked stint as an FBI informer in the 1980s — hasn’t deterred the White House.
In the interview, Sharpton made it clear that he was modeling his career on that of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and had now surpassed his one-time mentor.
“I never aspired to the local political fiefdom thing that a lot of people ascribed me to,” Sharpton said. “I saw myself as a guy who learned from Jesse Jackson how to do national civil rights.
“I wasn’t really interested in who was going to be the next district leader in Brooklyn. My ambitions were always a lot bigger than what my critics thought my ability was.”
He went on to list the lessons he learned from Jackson: “The Saturday rallies … get your own TV show … have a national organization” — and make friends with a president.
“He was Clinton’s guy,” Sharpton declared bluntly, “and I’m with Obama.”