Civil rights activist Charles Evers has endorsed Donald Trump for president, touting what Evers refers to as the current Republican front-runner’s business acumen.
“I believe in him first of all because he’s a businessman. I think jobs are badly needed in Mississippi,” he said.
Evers is the brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in front of his Jackson home in 1963.
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 referenced a proclamation by Gov. Phil Bryant declaring April “Confederate Heritage Month” and said that Trump has not taken similar actions.
According to Evers, the hiring practices of Trump’s properties are reflective of him being “fair.” Before launching his campaign, Trump was accused of discrimination. In 1973, the real estate mogul and his father were sued by the Department of Justice under the Fair Housing Act for allegedly implementing a system to block black applicants from renting Trump Management’s Brooklyn; Queens; and Norfolk, Virginia, properties.
The case was settled with a consent decree.
Evers also addressed Trump’s presidential announcement speech, during which the candidate made the following remarks:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Evers said he doesn’t feel the U.S. should be obligated to provide support for undocumented immigrants.
Evers added that he also respects Trump for his faith and that he plans to attendMonday’s rally in Madison. Evers said that if he has the chance to speak with Trump he wants to pitch bringing a catfish processing plant to Mississippi.
“Our catfish is shipped to China and brought back for us to buy. Put a catfish farm here.” A website for The Catfish Institute, based in Jackson, lists more than half a dozen U.S.-certified catfish processors in the state.
Mitch Tyner chairman of the Mississippi Donald Trump Committee in a news release Friday named Evers as a member of the candidate’s state campaign team along with Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler.
The 93-year-old has a storied history with the state’s civil rights movement. After his brother’s death, Evers served as the Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP. In 1969, he became the first black mayor of a Mississippi town or city since reconstruction when he was elected mayor of Fayette. In 1980, he switched to the Republican party, garnering national attention for his endorsement of Ronald Reagan.