Civil rights activist Al Sharpton discussed a variety of issues in a wide-ranging interview this week, saying he is more concerned about his personal safety following last week’s shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C. and that he thinks Hillary Clinton is vulnerable to defeat in the presidential election.
“I’m concerned more than I was before because now, when you’ve got a 21-year-old kid walking up who would have ever seen him and said ‘that’s a killer?'” Sharpton told the Regional News Network’s Dominic Carter in reference to Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people at Emanuel AME church last week.
“I’m a bit more concerned because my visibility is even higher than it was when I was stabbed,” said the MSNBC host, who was stabbed in the chest outside of the Bensonhurst projects in Brooklyn in January 1991 by a white man.
“The scar is still on my chest,” Sharpton continued. “Every morning I shave I still look at that scar.”
“I know that anybody that walks up to me could be asked to shake my head, could be asking to take a picture, or trying to blow my brains out,” said Sharpton, who is attending funeral services for several of the churchgoers murdered is last week’s attack.
Sharpton, who has developed close ties to President Obama, also pushed back against claims that he is an opportunist saying he is burdened by his activism.
“I have accepted the burden of following what I believe that I was born to do,” Sharpton said. “But at least people should respect the fact that others will go and take the risk they won’t take.”
“I think a lot of people think there’s some joy in this. Yeah, there’s some very great moments, but there’s a lot more risk than there is great moments.”
In the interview, Sharpton was also asked to weigh in on the current presidential landscape. While he said he believes Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, he stopped short of endorsing her and said several Republicans could derail her White House plans.
“I think she’s going to have to energize the base vote to win the general election,” Sharpton said. “I think that most will support her, but the question is can she make them come out. That’s going to be her challenge.”
“I want to see what she’s going to do to energize the base,” he added.
When asked which Republican could win the White House, Sharpton named three candidates.
“I think that Jeb Bush would give Mrs. Clinton a race,” he said. “And I think that Marco Rubio would play the young face.” He called the Florida senator “very articulate” and said he is charismatic.
“One of those two could be a problem,” he continued, adding that “Scott Walker could be a problem.”