Tags: mississippi | charles evers | medgar evers | kennedy | democrat | nixon | reagan

Remembering Charles Evers: From Kennedy Democrat to Trump Ally

Charles Evers is shown with a gray beard, and dark polo hat
Charles Evers (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

By Friday, 24 July 2020 01:26 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Following the news that Charles Evers had died Thursday night at age 97, this reporter immediately recalled past interviews with the civil rights legend. None were boring — not by a long shot.

Last August, as President Trump came under steady fire as a “racist” from Democratic presidential hopefuls and several religious leaders, Evers, bearer of one of the best-known names in the civil rights movement, came out swinging in defense of his friend the president.

Trump, Evers told Newsmax, “was getting a bad rap” from fellow civil rights leaders and that his economic policies “were creating jobs for people of all colors.”

“I love Donald,” he said.

“When Trump came to Jackson {Mississippi] in 2016, he came to my office,” recalled Evers, brother of slain Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers and himself the first black politician to seek elective office in the Magnolia State.

Evers told us he especially liked Candidate Trump’s “plain way of speaking and I liked what he had to say.  He’s a businessman, not a politician, and we agreed that if you create jobs, you are helping people of all colors.” In a statement from the White House, the president said he was saddened at the death of “my friend Charles Evers” and hailed the Mississippian as a “fearless” champion for civil rights.

Asked if he ever felt Trump was a racist, Evers shot back: “No more than anybody else.  We’ve all got a little bit of racism in us.”

He went further by defending Trump’s controversial tweet to the four U.S. House members of color known as “The Squad” that told them to “go back” and “help fix the totally broken and infested places from which they came.”

“There’s no racial thing here,” Evers insisted, “He’s telling them to go back to their districts and fix things there.  Then come back and show us how, instead of criticizing [the Trump Administration].”

Evers embrace of Republican Trump for president in 2016 came after eight years of supporting and praising Democrat Barack Obama, the first black president.

“I guess I’ve been back and forth between Democrat and Republican over the years,” he laughed.  A close friend of the Kennedy family, Evers strongly supported Republican President Richard Nixon and praised his policy of “black capitalism” that created many new minority entrepreneurs.

When Nixon was under fire during the Watergate scandal, Evers was a spirited defender of the embattled president and later told him: "You should’ve burned those damned tapes! [the recordings of White House conversations that led to Nixon’s resignation as president]."

Evers was also a vigorous backer of Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

In 1969, Evers made national headlines with his election as mayor of Fayette — the first black to become mayor of a biracial town in the Deep South since Reconstruction.  Two years later, he became the first black to run for governor in the Deep South. 

Although he lost to Democrat William Waller by 77 to 22 percent, Evers would go on to be a major player in state and national politics.

A half-century later, many in the Magnolia State still recall his moving campaign slogan: “Don’t Vote For A Black Man. Or A White Man.  Just A Good Man — Evers For Governor.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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Following the news that Charles Evers had died Thursday night at age 97, this reporter immediately recalled past interviews with the civil rights legend. None were boring — not by a long shot.
mississippi, charles evers, medgar evers, kennedy, democrat, nixon, reagan
Friday, 24 July 2020 01:26 PM
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