The retired star basketballer and Turner Sports analyst stopped by the spin room at Tuesday’s debate, where he voiced support for Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former housing secretary Julian Castro, who he called his “top two choices” right now.
Barkley said he’s not ready “to make a formal choice about” about who he would support as a Democratic presidential candidate just yet. Though he’s “a big Castro fan,” the TV analyst seemed equally impressed by candidates Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whom he called a “live wire” during night 1 of the debates, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Barkley also had some gripes, however, and was no-holds-barred in his criticism of Democrats’ and Republicans’ policies regarding the African-American community.
“Both parties kind of suck in that aspect,” he said bluntly.
“I think all politicians take black folks for granted,” Barkley added. “They talk to black folks every four years, and that’s about it. How they’re going to make our lives better, and then do nothing about it.”
The former NBA power forward, who was drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in ’84, identified as a Republican early in his career but later aligned himself with Democrats.
“It’s not a Republican or a Democrat thing, it’s not a liberal or a conservative thing — it’s an economic thing,” Barkley said. “And that’s what both parties have been neglecting. Especially the Democratic party.”
Barkley was then asked his opinion on Trump, whom he described in an interview with Vice News as having a bit of “an anger management problem.”
“I’m leery of calling people ‘racist,’ [but] he says some things that can be construed as racist,” Barkley said of the president. “Some things he’s said are very wrong and flagrant.”
Barkley argued that Trump could do “a much better job of denouncing white nationalism” and other dangerous ideologies.
He also took issue with the flow of Tuesday’s debate, saying: “This thing is so swayed toward certain candidates.”
Barkley is no stranger to the political arena. According to The Washington Post, he once expressed interest in running for governor in his home state of Alabama. Though he was still a Republican at the time and finally jumped ship after he says the GOP “lost their minds,” the retired basketball star has remained critical of both parties.
“Democrats have done a horrible job,” he once opined.
In yet another show of his characteristic bluntness, Barkley in 2017 pressed his fellow Alabamians to turn out in support for then-candidate Doug Jones, who was working to defeat Republican Roy Moore in the race for a open Senate seat in Alabama.
“At some point, we gotta stop looking like idiots to the nation,” he declared. “I love Alabama, but at some point we have got to draw a line in the sand and show we’re not a bunch of damn idiots.”
Watch more in the video below.
Charles Barkley came into the spin room for a bit.
He likes Julián Castro.
Said both parties take black voters for granted. pic.twitter.com/Bxr8RUDUNU
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) July 30, 2019