Politics

Jesse Jackson: Bernie ‘Fought Back In Chicago’ During Civil Rights Movement

WASHINGTON — Rainbow Push Coalition president Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Daily Caller Friday that Sen. Bernie Sanders was active in the Civil Rights movement in Chicago.

“Bernie was fighting back in Chicago not in the deep-south — in affordable housing struggles in Chicago. The movement was so broad based. There were civil rights leaders in Chicago,” Rev. Jackson said, confirming it might be too quick to dismiss Sanders’ activist background.

Jackson, along with Georgia Democrat Rep. John Lewis, both considered prominent figures in the 1960’s civil rights movement, told TheDC he has “enough room in [his] heart to respect John and Bernie,” despite Lewis’ accusation that he “never saw” Sanders at civil rights events at the time.

Jackson was endorsed by Sanders in 1984 and again in 1988 when the Rainbow Push leader ran for the presidency, which Jackson says he is grateful for. However, despite that and confirming his friendly relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton since the Sister Souljah moment in 1992, Jackson says he does not want to endorse anyone during the primary.

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC, though, endorsed Clinton on Thursday, a move that upset CBC member and Sanders supporter Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison. Jackson, himself, wondered if the PAC’s endorsement was a good idea.

“My concern there is, they’re choosing based on relationships…my concern is what is the agenda? What does the agenda need? Who has the most immigrant and figures plan for affordable health care — accessible affordable education and job training and housing re-construction and urban development? That’s what we need. Something needs to be built around that,” Jackson said.

He added, “[Their endorsement] is based on their interests… My focus has been based on voter registration and issue development. That’s what I’m focused on.”

Follow Kerry on Twitter