Another Unlikely Supporter For Donald Trump
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Donald Trump has upended all the conventional wisdom about how president primary seasons unfold. Republican voters have been turning out in record numbers to cast their ballots. Trump has gained endorsements from some unexpected supporters like Chris Christie and also our next guest.
His name is Charles Evers. He's the brother of Medgar Evers, the civil rights leader who was murdered in 1963 for his efforts to overturn segregation and fight for voting rights.
Charles Evers is himself a longtime civil rights activist. He's been a Republican for decades. And this past week, he endorsed Donald Trump. Mr. Evers joins me now on the line. Welcome to the program.
CHARLES EVERS: Thank you very much. Good morning.
MARTIN: Good morning.
I will start by just asking you to make your case. Why is Donald Trump the candidate for you?
EVERS: (Laughter) First of all, I think he's the best candidate. Number one, he's independent. Number two, he speaks on what he thinks and not what some other politician may tell them. I like him as a person. He's a self-made man, and he doesn't have to take donations from Charles Evers, other people. Once he get elected, he won't owe me a thing.
MARTIN: You like that he's...
EVERS: I love that.
MARTIN: ...Financially independent. And you say he won't be beholden to special interests.
MARTIN: Let me ask you about some of the rhetoric that he's used that has gotten a lot of criticism.
MARTIN: Most recently, he found himself in a situation during a TV interview where he did not explicitly denounce support from David Duke who's the former grand wizard of the KKK.
MARTIN: It took him some time. Eventually, Trump did unequivocally denounce him and his support. How did you see all of that unfold? How did that sit with you as a longtime civil rights activist?
EVERS: 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.
MARTIN: Do you think he is a unifier?
EVERS: I hope so. Is President Obama a unifier? Will Hillary Clinton be a unifier?
MARTIN: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama - you don't see them as having that capacity?
EVERS: What I'm saying is that - I'm saying - did they unify? They tried. I know President Obama tried, but he couldn't.
MARTIN: May I ask - did you vote for Barack Obama?
EVERS: Oh, yes. Yes, ma'am. Yes.
MARTIN: Have you been disappointed?
EVERS: Not really because, after all, he's the president of all the people, as I said earlier. You know, he can only do so much. He's done well. I'm proud of him - the health program he's gotten through and his stand for equality. But I'd hoped he could have done more.
But knowing that his hands are tied, to a point, because he doesn't have the majority of the people on his side now - he won with 52 percent of the vote, yes, but that was then. And he lost a lot of support since then for different reasons, but I'm still with him. I think he's good. I'm an independent Republican.
MARTIN: May I ask - what is one policy change - as someone who voted for Barack Obama and now is supporting Donald Trump, what's the policy issue - the policy change - you would most like a potential President Trump to address?
EVERS: I don't know. I want him to be president of all the people equally. That's all I want everybody to do.
MARTIN: You don't think Marco Rubio could do that? You don't think Ted Cruz can do that?
EVERS: I like Trump - just that simple.
MARTIN: Civil rights activist Charles Evers. He is a supporter of Donald Trump.
Thank you so much for talking with us and sharing your views, Mr. Evers.
EVERS: You're quite welcome. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.