Jackson: Trump belongs 'with the storm troopers' at Selma

SELMA, Ala. — Famed civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, here to commemorate the 1965 voting-rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge said he believes President Trump would have been on the side of the “storm troopers” who beat protesters in what has gone down in history as “Bloody Sunday.”

Yahoo News asked Jackson what he thought Trump “would have been doing” if he was in Selma at the time.

“Probably with the storm troopers,” Jackson said.

Among the victims that day was John Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia. Trump was in college in 1965.

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Jesse Jackson through the years
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Jesse Jackson through the years
Jesse Jackson arrives to attend the third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira greets Reverend Jesse Jackson (R) as he arrives at a ceremony at the Luxembourg Gardens to mark the abolition of slavery and to pay tribute to the victims of the slave trade, in Paris, France, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrives to take part at the jenazah, an islamic prayer service for the late Muhammad Ali at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson gestures while speaking during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Reverend Jesse Jackson speaks to a guest befor the dedication of the Smithsonianâs National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Rev. Jesse Jackson shows his ballot receipt after early voting for the midterm elections in Chicago, Illinois, October 24, 2014. Over the years, Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition has been involved in getting new African American voters, who tend to vote Democratic, to register to vote. Picture taken October 24, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
U.S. civil rights activist Jesse Jackson speaks to reporters in Havana September 29, 2013. Jackson said on Sunday he will continue to work for the release of a U.S. army veteran kidnapped by Colombian FARC rebels in June, despite the Colombian government's rejection of his mediation. Jackson, who arrived in Cuba on Friday to talk with Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) commanders who are here for peace talks with the Colombian government, said he was told Afghanistan war veteran Kevin Scott Sutay was free to leave if the logistics were in place to get him out of the jungle. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan (CUBA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST HEADSHOT PROFILE)
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. leaves the courthouse after the sentencing hearing of his son Jesse Jackson Jr. in Washington, August 14, 2013. Jackson Jr., once one of the most promising black politicians in the United States, was sentenced on Wednesday to 2-1/2 years in prison for misuse of campaign funds. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW RELIGION POLITICS)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Jesse Jackson attends the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brian Stukes/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30: Jesse Jackson speaks onstage during the National CARES Mentoring Movement�s 2nd Annual 'For the Love of Our Children' Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 30, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for for National CARES Mentoring Movement)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 09: Reverend Jesse Jackson attends 2016 March of Dimes Celebration of Babies at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for March of Dimes )
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07: Reverend Jesse Jackson attends the 4th annual Wishing Well winter gala at Hollywood Palladium on December 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Many Democrats, including some presidential candidates, have labeled Trump a “racist,” a characterization he disputes. His longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, said in his testimony to a House committee Thursday that Trump often made racist remarks about blacks.

Jackson, a 1988 Democratic presidential candidate, was a close ally of Martin Luther King, who helped lead the Selma marches.

Jackson then shared a story about segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who led the state on “Bloody Sunday” and declined to protect the marchers.

“I asked George Wallace one time — I was having prayer with him after he was very ill, ‘Why did you unleash the horses on the marchers? He said, ‘I did them a favor,’” Jackson recounted.

Jackson asked Wallace, who died in 1998, what he meant.

“He said, ‘Well, if I had not put the troops on him, the mob would have been worse.’ It never occurred to him to turn the troops on the mob, but the marchers,” said Jackson, adding, “That is a mentality. That. is a deeply embedded point of view.”

Jackson was attending the annual “Martin Luther King & Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast,” which also hosted several current Democratic presidential candidates. He began his comments by saying he was “deeply concerned” that Selma was “being used as a prop.” He describes the city as “the birthplace of modern democracy” and suggested the voting rights protests there led to a “new majority” in the country including minorities and young people.

“But my concern is that while Selma is the birthplace, it’s being used as a prop. Selma is the 9th poorest city in the country. Ms. Boynton, who invited Dr. King here as the host, her house is condemned. Selma is 40 percent poverty,” Jackson said.

He said Selma would be the ideal venue for a “rural reconstruction project.”

“The reason we have a Democratic Congress is because of Selma. There should be some evidence of it,” said Jackson.

The Democrats at the breakfast included 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who was being honored at the event, and two current candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who has said he will make a decision about whether to enter the 2020 race by the end of this month was also in attendance.

Yahoo News asked Jackson if he felt the current presidential candidates were taking Selma’s needs seriously.

“All of them now speak to … voter enforcement to offset voter suppression, but beyond voting, there must be fruits of democracy. Where are the fruits?” Jackson asked, adding, “There should be some plan. HUD should be here, HHS should be here. There should be some evidence Selma is the birthplace of democracy.”

Asked about voter suppression, a major concern of Democrats in recent elections, Jackson noted the increasing number of minorities in Congress, and said the country has made “tremendous strides” in “spite of the voter suppression.” But he said there are ongoing “schemes to suppress the vote” including gerrymandering that favors white, Republican districts. He brought up the 2016 presidential election.

“Hillary won by three million votes. Trump is the president,” said Jackson, adding, “Schemes to undermine the vote are very real and very alive.”

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