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Former NBA star Charles Barkley slammed Democrats for taking black voters for granted and warned the party the community would “hold them accountable” if they failed to deliver.
Referring to his support of Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s 2017 special election for U.S. Senate, Barkley told SiriusXM Radio host Michael Smerconish, “I said ‘Doug, I’m going to support you. I’m going to try to get every black person in Alabama to vote for you.’ And it worked out. We won for the first time in 40 years.”
“But I said, ‘we need to start holding you Democrats accountable’ because they’ve been taking black people’s votes – and they only talk to black people every four years,” Barkley continued. “All of these politicians only talk to black people every four years because they want their vote.”
Toward the end of his NBA career in the late 1990s, Barkley spoke of potentially running for Alabama governor as a Republican and publicly claimed to be a GOP member.
But in recent years Barkley turned away from the Republican Party. In 2007 he endorsed Barack Obama for president and in 2008 declared he would run for Alabama governor as an independent. He would drop those plans next year.
Barkley has been publicly critical of President Trump, saying his comments “can be construed as racist,” but has stopped short of saying Trump himself is racist.
Speaking to Smerconish, Barkley also pushed back against claims all Trump supporters are racist. “I think some of them are,” he said. “But I don’t think everybody who voted for Trump [is] racist.”
When asked who he is supporting in this year Democrat presidential primary Barkley spoke highly of former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg, but says the Democrat National Committee’s handling of the primary process has made him less interested in the contest.