Sen. Sherrod Brown: 'We Have a President Who's a Racist'

By Susan Jones | February 4, 2019 | 6:29 AM EST

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) flatly stated on "Meet the Press" that President Trump "is racist." (Photo: Screen capture/NBC)

( - Moments after repeating his call for the resignation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) declared on Sunday that President Donald Trump is "racist." Brown pointed to "news reports" and books to back up his claim.

Chuck Todd, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked Brown why "folks" such as Gov. Northam "are now being held accountable for blackface."

"Well, I think this country hasn't dealt well with the issues of race," Brown said. "I mean, we have a president who's a racist. Who we have, you know--"

"Let me pause you there," Todd interrupted. "You believe, in his heart, he's a racist?"

"Well, I don't know what 'in his heart' means," Brown responded:

I know that he built his political career, knowing what he was doing on questioning the legitimacy and the birthplace of the president of the United States. I know, early, and we -- there have been all kinds of news reports about what he did early in his career on housing.

We know -- I mean, read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Read The Color of Law, about housing discrimination and decades and decades and decades of housing discrimination. And we know that the Trump family, including the now-sitting president, played to that and deepened that.

So, these issues, this is not a recent -- Charlottesville was only a symptom and a more-public viewing and outing, if you will, of the president's views about race. I mean, there's just no question about that. We know the president doesn't tell the truth frequently. We know he lies frequently. And we know of his racial back -- racist comments and background.

You know, and that's not even counting, Chuck, that's not even counting the policies of this administration. We have consent decrees all over this country, including in Cleveland. We have a Justice Department that's turned its back on it. We know about voter suppression.

I was secretary of state of Ohio. My job, when I was secretary of state, was to encourage people of all races to vote, especially young people, and especially young people of color. And we worked at that. We now have a government that suppresses the vote.

And we know what happened in Georgia. And we know what happened in Florida.

In both of those states, prominent black candidates lost to white opponents.

Sherrod Brown is mulling a run for president. He told Todd that he and his wife Connie "live in a, you know, racially mixed neighborhood, of course."

Brown said if he does run for president, his theme will be "the dignity of work."

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