Over the weekend, presidential hopeful and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump garnered an endorsement from another unlikely source — the brother of murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
Despite disparaging comments Trump has made about Mexicans, Muslims, and Black people, Charles Evers told the Clarion-Ledger he was supporting the candidate because he’s a “businessman first,” dismissing claims that Trump is a racist because of his tough stance on immigration.
From the Clarion-Ledger:
“I believe in him first of all because he’s a businessman. I think jobs are badly needed in Mississippi,” he said.
Asked about Trump’s controversial remarks regarding immigration and an incident Tuesday in which 30 black students were reported to have been removed from the candidate’s rally in Valdosta, Georgia, Evers responded, “I haven’t seen any proof of him being a racist.”
However he added, “all of us have some racism in us. Even me.”
Evers’ past made it difficult for many to believe he was supporting the outspoken Trump; his brother, Medgar, was assassinated in Jackson, Miss. in a 1963 racially motivated attack. After his death, Evers served as the Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP and he became the first Black mayor of a Mississippi town (Fayette).
In the 1980s, however, Evers switched to the Republican party and endorsed Ronald Reagan, a move that amassed national attention.
Now, the 93-year-old is making headlines again by defending Trump. When asked by NPR what he thought about Trump’s failure to explicitly disavow support from former KKK grand wizard David Duke, Evers had this to say:
“It didn’t bother me at all because he’s running for president of the United States – the president of everybody, including the David Dukes. And I have no problem with it, frankly, because David’s just one man. He’s out there by himself. And most people now have gotten away from that. Look how far we’ve come since Medgar’s death 50-something years ago. So you know, we have to stop living in the past and live in the present and the future.”
Later in the interview, he gave yet another reason he was supporting the presidential candidate:
“I like Trump – just that simple.”
You can read the interview in its entirety, here.