NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says he’s fed up with the course of Donald Trump’s presidency, which has emboldened racists. Barkley also said Trump continues to appeal to a certain demographic that blames immigrants for their own lack of wealth.
On David Axelrod’s show on CNN, “The Axe Files,” Barkley gave his opinion on Trump and his policies.
“I’ve never been more angry and disgusted at this situation than I am now,” Barkley said. “This turmoil every single day — the tweeting, the hiring and firing.”
Barkley said that Trump’s focus on “building a wall” and “deporting” has encouraged racists.
“Do we have some bad Hispanics” he said. “Of course, we do. Do we have some bad Muslims Of course, we do. But I believe the majority of the Muslim people in this country are amazing, hard-working people. The president has done an awful job of trying to be inclusive.”
Barkley also said that there’s a demographic of Trump supporters that won’t take accountability for their own lives and blames economic lack on immigrants.
“I think he reached a demographic who just won’t look in a mirror and say my life sucks because of me,” Barkley said. “So every person who can’t get a job says yes, he’s right, that some Mexican has taken my job. I’m like, well, wait, ‘Did you want that job, number one Or did you put yourself — did you work hard enough, educate yourself enough to get — deserve that job’ So it’s easy to blame somebody.”
“I’ve never been more angry and disgusted at this situation than I am now.” Basketball great Charles Barkley slams President Trump in his interview with CNN’s David Axelrod, which airs Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on “The Axe Files.” https://t.co/eJoBNUUHII pic.twitter.com/7pJ2ECPD53
— CNN (@CNN) March 31, 2018
An example of where Trump supporters say that Latinos have taken jobs is in the former coal-mining town of Hazleton, Pa., which has seen shifts in the demographics of its population within the past 15 years. The once majority-white town is now predominantly Latino.
National Geographic published a piece last month on how white people feel left behind because of the changes. Native-born Hazleton residents complain that Latino immigrants are taking the available jobs.
Lou Barletta, a Republican who represents the region in Congress, told the New York Times before the presidential election in 2016 that Trump’s “position on illegal immigration plays a big role in his support not only in Hazleton but in northeast Pennsylvania.”
However, Jamie Longazel, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City who grew up just outside Hazleton, told the Times in 2016 that the reality is “native-born folks” didn’t want the low-paying jobs offered.
“The new jobs don’t pay as much as the old jobs did, and the reality is that native-born folks were just not interested,” Longazel said.
Some members of Hazleton’s Latino community believe the rise of Trump has increased discrimination.
“There are the undertones of what people don’t want to label as discrimination or racism or don’t want to call it that — but it’s there,” Amanda Lara, assistant education director at the Hazleton Integration Project and the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, told NBC News.
Sally Yale, a Hazleton coffee shop owner whose grandfather came to the town from Italy in the early 1900s, is a Trump supporter who believes he is going to change the tide in regard to immigration.
“We have one of us in that White House,” Yale said of Trump to the magazine. “We are going to make America great again.”
She said the “‘we’ are the Caucasians that built this country.”
On March 19, Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran a segment on his show discussing the demographic shifts in Hazleton. He lamented that the population increase of Latinos in Hazleton has made life volatile for its white residents.
“Before you start calling anyone bigoted, consider and be honest, how would you feel if that happened in your neighborhood” he asked his viewers.
A study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine actually found that immigration generally had a positive impact overall on the U.S. economy.
According to the National Geographic article, Hazleton was “slipping into decline until a wave of Latinos arrived.”